This project provides a better understanding of the tools available to manage seabed impact and examines how species distribution across habitat type can be used by both managers and the fishing industry to target management to reduce benthic impact in Scottish waters. The ability to make more informed and balanced decisions is central to the success of mitigation measures to reduce benthic impact in Scottish waters. Using both habitat sensitivity maps and knowledge of species distribution in management decision making is a more strategic, transparent and inclusive approach when comparing with traditional fisheries management.
The most effective way to reduce the impact of demersal towed gears is to recognise the spatial match between resource exploitation (a fishery) and biological productivity (stock unit). Therefore, predictive habitat and species distribution maps may play an important role in decision making when designing future mitigation measures to reduce the impact of demersal towed gears. Recommended mitigation can be found in the final report.