Letter to the Editor
Geophysical Research Letters
School of Science / Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
Funding information : https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL091279
© 2020. The Authors. Bottom trawling grounds have been expanding to deeper areas of the oceans since the mid-XXth century, and mitigating strategies aimed to protect fish stocks, such as temporal trawling closures, have recently been implemented. Here we investigated the biogeochemical properties of sediment from a deep-sea trawling ground in Palamós Canyon (NW Mediterranean) to assess the effects of a 2-months trawling closure in the recovery of sedimentary organic matter. In comparison to untrawled areas, the continuous erosion and sediment mixing in trawling grounds led to coarser reworked sediments impoverished in organic carbon (∼30% loss) and promoted the degradation of labile compounds (52–70% loss). These impacts persisted after the temporal trawling closure, highlighting that this management strategy is insufficient to restore the seafloor. Considering the continuous expansion of bottom trawling grounds, this activity could have significant and irreversible biogeochemical impacts on ocean margins at a global scale, hampering their carbon burial capacity.
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