My name is Daniel van Denderen and I’m a fourth year PhD student at IMARES Wageningen. My study focusses on the community consequences of bottom trawl fisheries in marine soft-sediments.
Bottom trawling is a special kind of fisheries in the sense that its direct impact goes far beyond the impact on its target species, or even beyond effects on fish. Bottom trawls disturb benthic invertebrates and change their species composition. Since a part of the benthic species is prey for fish, trawling can indirectly change food web interactions between fish and its benthic prey. The net effects of bottom trawling are hence the outcome not only of the direct effects of trawling, but also of a number of indirect food web interactions between invertebrate groups in the benthic community and the fish. In my study I examine when benthic community shifts may be expected in response to trawling and how they influence feeding interactions between fish and its benthic prey, eventually changing fish abundances and fishery catches.