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Exclusion of mobile bottom-contact fishing in marine protected areas of the German EEZ in the Baltic Sea

Picture of two research assistants and a beam trawl

Research fishing © Martin Paar, University Rostock

Bottom trawls are often used in so-called mobile bottom-contact fishing (MGF) in the Baltic Sea.

The main effects on marine ecosystems are their otter boards, which are used to keep the net horizontally open. Otter boards plow through the sediment and thereby have a negative impact on the sediments and organisms on the sea floor.

Therefore, this fishing method will be excluded in the German and European MPAs in the next years - at least in parts of the MPAs. The negotiations on the exclusion of MGF are currently taking place within the framework of the European common fisheries policy at EU level and in consultation with neighboring countries.

Our Research

Picture of two turbots on a measuring board

fresh turbot © MGF Ostsee

The MGF Baltic Sea research project as well as its sister project MGF North Sea offers the unique opportunity to investigate how benthic habitats and organisms develop after the exclusion of MGF in the future.

For this purpose, the current state of the areas has to be examined and documented first as a reference, in order to investigate how communities, seabed morphology, biogeochemistry of the marine sediments and exchange processes between sediment and water column develop without further human disturbances.

Such influences on MPAs and marine ecosystems have so far been understudied and the results provide an important basis for future management of the protected areas in the North and Baltic Sea.

Logo of the project MGF Baltic Sea

The scientific work planned in the projects follows a modern, interdisciplinary approach that includes all components of the ecosystem in order to assess the consequences of an MGF exclusion.

The data from the first samplings should form the basis of future monitoring in the areas, with which status changes can be recognized and countermeasures or further protective measures can be taken if necessary.

Project coordination: Prof. Klaus Jürgens, Leibnitz-Institut for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde.