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Marine Stewardship Council Science Series


Marine Stewardship Council Science Series

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© The Author 2015. Published by Marine Stewardship Council Science Series. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly cited.

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Abstract/ Summary

In a previous paper, Review of habitat dependent impacts of mobile and static fishing gears that interact with the sea bed (2014) we offered definitions for benthic habitat, fishing gear and fisheries management and a way of thinking about the challenge of understanding best practices for measuring, monitoring, managing and mitigating benthic impacts of fishing in the context of the MSC’s certification requirements. These informed our review in the previous paper’s classification of habitats and fishing gears and helped us highlight likely variations in benthic impact depending on habitat and gear used (Grieve, Brady & Polet, 2014). In this paper, we provide an overview of the systems used around the world to classify fisheries management systems. Best practices are related to the MSC Habitats performance indicators, as well as the themes for the original project: monitoring, measuring, managing and mitigating. We conclude the report with observations and recommendations that emerged from our review, with particular reference to defining habitat for MSC purposes and the information needs for certification bodies to make better assessments, e.g. understanding seabed characteristics, estimating fishing distribution, using local knowledge particularly when data are deficient, and the challenge of scaling up results of site-specific, intensive studies to the level of a fishery.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Grieve C, Brady DC and Polet H (2015) Best practices for managing, measuring and mitigating the benthic impacts of fishing. Marine Stewardship Council Science Series 3: 81 – 120.

Publisher Statement

The Marine Stewardship Council Science Series has been commissioned by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as part of its goal to extend scientific research and understanding of marine ecosystems and fisheries. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the MSC. The MSC certification program changes over time; every attempt is made to ensure all details within this paper are accurate at the time of publication. An internal review process has been established to ensure as far as possible the accuracy, content, completeness, legality and reliability of the information presented. For full detail of the review process visit:



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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