Multiple types of fishing gears are utilised in Ireland in the taking of marine resources and each method can pose either direct or indirect effects to marine beds and environments. For example, bottom trawling and dredging pose a serious threat to the marine environment due to resuspension of sediments and disruption of seafloor integrity.
Benthic Trawling and Dredging
Resuspended particulate matter prevents photosynthesis from occurring by blocking light. Without primary production the food web cannot continue to function. Even detritivores cannot survive once other organisms are removed.
This delicate balance is further tipped by several traits of the creatures within the marine food web. Small population size, small geographic range, slow growth and reproduction rates, and specialised ecological habitats are all natural limiting factors, which are placed under further strain by human activity (Pimm et al., 1988; Lawton, 1995; Didham et al., 1998; Purvis et al., 2000).
It is for these reasons that certain areas and species come under legislative protection through the establishment of Special Protected Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, and Marine Protected Areas and Reserves.