Frontiers Research Topic ‘Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems and Deep-Sea Fisheries’

You are cordially invited to consider joining as a contributing author to the new research topic “Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems and Deep-Sea Fisheries” in Frontiers in Marine Science

Please find a description of the research topic below. Papers do not necessarily need to address just VMEs AND deep-sea fisheries… other types of VME studies and those investigating climate change and other effects on VMEs are welcomed.

Abstracts to indicate interest are due on 1 April 2019, with final manuscripts submitted no later than 1 September 2019.

Please let us know if you would like to be listed as author and we can put you in the Frontiers online system. If you have already received a notification to your email address by Frontiers in Marine Science about this research topic than you have already been listed and we need not enter your name again. Please note that you do not need to be on this list to be able to submit an abstract or a manuscript.

Jeroen Ingels on behalf of all editors
Les Watling
Sandra Brooke
Kerry Howell
Christopher Pham

Description of the research topic:

While some deep-sea fish have been pursued by fisheries interests for more than a hundred years, true multi-national targeting of deep-sea fish stocks began in the 1960s, with total catch reaching a peak during the period 1975-2005. Because most fishery species caught were long-lived, slow-growing, and reproduced at advanced ages, exploited stocks quickly collapsed in many areas, especially those associated with seamounts. Altogether, deep-sea fisheries have accounted for less than 1% of the world’s catch of marine species since 1950. Bottom trawls were most commonly used to obtain the catch, but in some areas other bottom-tending gear was also deployed. Bottom trawls, especially, were seen to bring up large quantities of non-target species, including corals and sponges, among other species, leading the FAO to categorize those groups of organisms as indicators of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), the latter being areas that would take very long times to recover or possibly would fail to recover. Some of these areas have been investigated by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) or towed cameras, with the images obtained showing the level of disturbance of the bottom community, while in other areas undisturbed VMEs are being discovered and documented in order to prevent future harmful impacts. It has become apparent that VMEs are widespread globally, providing key ecosystem services and the term is now commonly used to identify ecosystems that are vulnerable to anthropogenic impact in a more general sense, in science, conservation and management. For this Research Topic in Frontiers in Marine Science, we invite submission of studies that investigate the nature and categorization of VMEs, within as well as outside national boundaries. Important topics include proposals as to what constitutes a VME, how they can be identified and documented, investigations of the interaction of deep-sea fisheries with VMEs, and proposals for the mitigation of deep-sea fishery impacts of areas with VMEs. We will also consider studies that deal with the relation between VMEs and other types of anthropogenic activities such as oil and mineral exploitation. Studies investigating other disturbances and impacts on VMEs, including climate change and deep-sea mining are also welcomed.