Bottom Fishery Impact Assessment Standard Draft April 2009 Contents

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9.Provision of Geospatial Data

Many of the supporting analyses required to prepare assessments, to design management and mitigation measures or to monitor interactions of fisheries with areas containing VMEs require geo-spatial analyses. In particular, mapping of previously fished areas, mapping of bottom fishing footprints, mapping and evaluation of interactions with underwater topographic features or sites showing evidence of VMEs and monitoring of cumulative impacts over space and time necessitate the development of geospatial databases for the SPRFMO Area, able to support the required geospatial analyses.

9.1SPRFMO Geospatial Database

The SPRFMO SWG has already identified a requirement for the SPRFMO Secretariat to develop and maintain a geospatial database containing the following information:

  • Boundaries of the SPRFMO Convention Area.

  • Boundary areas of bordering RFMOs (including CCAMLR, WCPFC, NW Pacific RFMO, IATTC).

  • FAO Statistical Areas.

  • South Pacific bordering country EEZ boundaries.

  • SPRFMO Area bathymetric grid data (from the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) and GeoScience Australia), with bathymetric contours and closed bathymetry polygons derived using the grid data.

  • Known or predicted distribution of seamounts and underwater topographic features (Kitchingman & Lai 2004, Allain et al. 2008).

  • South Pacific seamounts in the niche-factor analysis by Clark et al. (2006), evaluating the habitat suitability for coldwater corals of seamounts in the Kitchingman & Lai (2004) database.

  • Bottom fishing footprint maps for the various fishing methods, including data on year of fishing and an effort index (e.g. number of tows or sets), derived from individual fishing position data submitted by participants.

Detailed specifications for these data layers must be developed in cooperation between the SWG and Secretariat.

9.2Geospatial Data Submission by Participants

To enable the Secretariat to maintain an updated geospatial database, and to allow the SWG to conduct the necessary periodic evaluation of data on sites showing evidence of a VME, all participants in SPRFMO bottom fisheries should provide the following geospatial data to the Secretariat on an annual basis, for the previous fishing year:

  • Positions of all bottom fishing activities, including start and end positions for all individual trawl tows and bottom longline sets, and fishing positions for all drop line, pot or trap fishing or other method sets. These data should be submitted in accordance with the relevant SPRFMO Data Standards for these fishing methods.

  • Positions of all fishing activities (tows or sets) which encountered evidence of a VME, as defined in this standard, including details on the benthic by-catch constituting such evidence.

  • Positions and detailed benthic species composition data for any other benthic community composition observations done in the SPRFMO Area. Such data could include detailed benthic by-catch composition recorded by scientific observers aboard fishing vessels.

Additional geospatial data which should be considered for inclusion in future submissions could include high-resolution bathymetric data collected during fishing operations, visual records (e.g. drop-camera or video images) or results of scientific biodiversity and benthic community composition surveys.

10. References

Allain, V. J-A. Kerandel, M. Clark (2008) Potential seamount location in the South Pacific RFMO area: prerequisite for fisheries management and conservation in the high seas. Paper presented to the SPRFMO 5 Science Working Group Meeting, SPRFMO-V-SWG-05, 18 pp.

Auster, P.J. (2005) Are deep-water corals important habitats for fishes? In: Freiwald A, Roberts JM (eds) Cold-Water Corals and Ecosystems, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 747-760.

Bailey, D.M., M.A. Collins, J.D.M. Gordon, A.F. Zuur and I.G. Priede (2009) Long-term changes in deep-water fish populations in the northeast Atlantic: a deeper reaching effect of fisheries ? Proceedings of the Royal Society B, (doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.0098)

CCAMLR (2007) Conservation Measure 22-06. Schedule of Conservation Measures in Force 2007/08, Hobart (Australia).

Chuenpagdee R., L.E. Morgan, S.M. Maxwell, E.A. Norse, and D. Pauly (2003) Shifting gears: assessing collateral impacts of fishing methods in US waters. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 1(10): 517-524.

Clark, M.R., D. Tittensor, A.D. Rogers, P. Brewin, T. Schlacher, A. Rowden, K. Stocks and M Consalvey (2006) Seamounts, deep-sea corals and fisheries: vulnerability of deep-sea corals to fishing on seamounts beyond areas of national jurisdiction. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK. 80 pp.

Clark M.R., Koslow J.A. (2007) Impacts of fishing on seamounts. In: Seamounts: Ecology Fisheries and Conservation (eds T.J. Pitcher, P.J.B. Hart, T. Morato, R. Santos, M. Clark), Blackwell Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Series, Blackwell Scientific.

Clark, M.R. (2008) Report from the PEW workshop on design of marine protected areas for specific seamounts systems in international waters, 27 - 29 May 2008, 11pp.

Clarke K.R. and R.M. Warwick (1998) A taxonomic distinctness index and its statistical properties. Journal of Applied Ecology, 35:523–531

Clarke, K.R. and R.M. Warwick (2001) A further biodiversity index applicable to species lists: variation in taxonomic distinctness. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 216: 265-278.

Constable, A. and R. Holt (2007) Bottom fishing in high seas areas of CCAMLR. SC-CAMLR-XXVI/10. 17p.

FAO (2008) International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-Sea Fisheries in the High Seas: Annex F of the Report of the Technical Consultation on International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas. Rome, 4–8 February and 25-29 August 2008.

Hirzel, A.H., J. Hausser, D. Chessel and N. Perrin (2002). Ecological-niche factor analysis: how to compute habitat-suitability maps without absence data? Ecology, 83: 2027 - 2036.

Hobday, A.J., A. Smith, H. Webb, R. Daley, S. Wayte, C. Bulman, J. Dowdney, A. Williams, M. Sporcic, J. Dambacher, M. Fuller and T. Walker (2007) Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing: Methodology. Report R04/1072 for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.

Kaiser M.J. (1998) Significance of bottom-fishing disturbance. Conservation Biology, 12: 1230-1235.

Kitchingman A. and S. Lai (2004) Inferences on potential seamount locations from mid-resolution bathymetric data. In: Seamounts: Biodiversity and Fisheries (eds T Morato, D Pauly) UBC Fisheries Centre, 78, pp. 261, Vancouver, B.C.

Koslow J.A., K. Gowlett-Holmes, J.K. Lowry, T. O’Hara, G.C.B. Poore, A. Williams (2001) Seamount benthic macrofauna off southern Tasmania: community structure and impacts of trawling. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 213: 111-125.

Ministry of Fisheries (2008) Bottom Fishing Activities by New Zealand Vessels Fishing in the High Seas in the SPRFMO Area during 2008 and 2009. Bottom Fishery Impact Assessment, New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries, 107 pp.

Parker, S.J. (2008). Development of a New Zealand High Seas Bottom Trawling Bottom Fishery Impact Assessment Standard for Evaluation of Fishing Impacts to Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the South Pacific Ocean. Fisheries Research Report, IFA2007-02, Ministry of Fisheries, Wellington, New Zealand.

Parker, S.J, A.J. Penney and M.R. Clark (in press) Detection criteria for managing trawl impacts to Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in high seas fisheries of the South Pacific Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series (submitted for the theme ‘Conservation and Management of Deepsea Corals and Coral Reefs’).

Penney A.J., S.J. Parker and J.H. Brown (in press) New Zealand Implementation of protection measures for vulnerable marine ecosystems in the South Pacific Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series, (submitted for the theme ‘Conservation and Management of Deepsea Corals and Coral Reefs’).

Richer de Forges B., J.A. Koslow and G.C.B. Poore (2000) Diversity and endemism of the benthic seamount fauna in the southwest Pacific. Nature, 405, 944-947.

Rogers, A.D., M.R. Clark, J.M. Hall-Spencer and K.M. Gjerde (2008) The science behind the guidelines: A scientific guide to the FAO draft international guidelines (December 2007) for the management of deep-sea fisheries in high seas and examples of how the guidelines may be practically implemented. IUCN, Switzerland, 2008.

Sharp, B., S.J. Parker and N. Smith. (2008) Methods for implementing conservation measure 22-06: An impact assessment framework for bottom impacting fishing methods in the CCAMLR area. CCAMLR, WSA-08/53.

SPRFMO (2007a) SPRFMO III Report – Annex F. Interim measures adopted by participants in negotiations to establish South Pacific regional fisheries management organisation. Reñaca, Chile, 30 April – 4 May 2007.

SPRFMO (2007b) SPRFMO III Report – Annex C. Standards for the collection, reporting, verification and exchange of data. Reñaca, Chile, 30 April – 4 May 2007.

SPRFMO (2007c) SPRFMO IV Report of the Scientific Working Group, Annex 3. Draft Benthic Assessment Framework. SPRFMO-IV-SWG-06. Noumea, New Caledonia, 4-7 September 2007.

Tracey, D.M., S.J. Parker, E. Mackay and K. Ramm (2008) A quick identification guide to “Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem” indicator taxa. Observer Programme, Ministry of Fisheries, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tyler-Walters, H., K. Hiscock, D.B. Lear and A. Jackson (2001) Identifying species and ecosystem sensitivities. Report to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN). Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Plymouth (

UNGA (2007) Resolution 61/105 Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments. UNGA A/RES/61/105 Available at:, 21pp

Warwick R.M. and K.R. Clarke (1998) Taxonomic distinctness and environmental assessment. Journal of Applied Ecology, 35: 532–543.

Zezina, O. (1997). Biogeography of the bathyal zone. Advances in Marine Biology, 32: 389–426.

11. Appendices

11.1Appendix A. Rapid Assessment VME Evidence Form Example

11.2Appendix B. Rapid Assessment VME Evidence Identification Guide

1 ‘Bottom trawl’ is defined for the purposes of this standard as any trawl net fished in such a way that it has a likelihood of coming into contact with the seabed at some time during the trawling operation.

2 Commencement of hauling is recommended as the fishing position because, on short duration tows targeting schools of fish near a bottom feature, it probably represents the best estimate of where the bottom contact took place. The start point of the tow (where operating depth was reached) is typically before the target location. It should be noted that the position of the trawl net may actually be far behind the vessel (often more than a km) during deepwater trawling.

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