Articles | Volume 21, issue 10
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-21-2547-2024
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-21-2547-2024
Research article
 | 
28 May 2024
Research article |  | 28 May 2024

Quantification and mitigation of bottom-trawling impacts on sedimentary organic carbon stocks in the North Sea

Lucas Porz, Wenyan Zhang, Nils Christiansen, Jan Kossack, Ute Daewel, and Corinna Schrum

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Akhtar, N., Geyer, B., and Schrum, C.: Impacts of accelerating deployment of offshore windfarms on near-surface climate, Sci. Rep.-UK, 12, 18307, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-22868-9, 2022. 
Arlinghaus, P., Zhang, W., and Schrum, C.: Small-scale benthic faunal activities may lead to large-scale morphological change- A model based assessment, Front. Mar. Sci., 9, 1011760, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.1011760, 2022. 
Atwood, T. B., Romanou, A., DeVries, T., Lerner, P. E., Mayorga, J. S., Bradley, D., Cabral, R. B., Schmidt, G. A., and Sala, E.: Atmospheric CO2 emissions and ocean acidification from bottom-trawling, Front. Mar. Sci., 10, 1125137, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2023.1125137, 2024. 
Beaulieu, S.: Accumulation and Fate of Phytodetritus on the Sea Floor, in: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, Volume 40, edited by: Gibson, R., Barnes, M., an Atkinson, R., CRC Press, London, 171–232, https://doi.org/10.1201/9780203180594-15, 2002. 
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Seafloor sediments store a large amount of carbon, helping to naturally regulate Earth's climate. If disturbed, some sediment particles can turn into CO2, but this effect is not well understood. Using computer simulations, we found that bottom-contacting fishing gears release about 1 million tons of CO2 per year in the North Sea, one of the most heavily fished regions globally. We show how protecting certain areas could reduce these emissions while also benefitting seafloor-living animals.
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