Long-lived species take longer to recover from the effects of bottom trawling by commercial fisheries according to recent research from Hiddink et al. Watch this video from PROJECT BENTHIS to discover more about the importance of longevity and benthic animal traits. Introduction by Associate Editor, Verena Trenkel.

Bottom trawling by commercial fisheries affects not only the target species — typically fish and shellfish — but also creates incidental mortality for benthic organisms. In their recent article, Hiddink et al. showed that the degree of impact as well as the time to recovery is inversely related to the longevity of benthic organisms. The results are based on meta-analyses in which the authors brought together experimental studies from around the world. PROJECT BENTHIS have shared this great video explaining the findings:

Combining knowledge on the local benthos community and the results of this study, managers will now be able to use longevity as a proxy for trawling sensitivity to obtain an estimate of potential trawling impacts in their area of interest. This will help them to direct their mitigation efforts towards areas where large impacts are expected.

Read the article, Assessing bottom trawling impacts based on the longevity of benthic invertebrates, in Journal of Applied Ecology.