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The seafloor footprint of Danish fishing

“The online mapping tool provides users with fishing distribution maps: Maps that exactly show where the seabed has had physical contact with fishing gears,” Karin says. “This data is derived from vessel monitoring data, satellite-based position data from the fishing vessels, linked to daily logbooks that contain information about the fishing gears employed. Based on this information, we determined where the fishing vessels were active and therewith the exact footprint of the Danish fisheries at the seafloor.”

Karin had limited experience with publishing data but found it appealing that DTU provided an institutional solution that appeared well maintained and safe, namely DTU Data. In DTU Data, Karin described the online mapping tool, its usage conditions, and the link to the online mapping tool. It is an example of a data publication, where data are stored outside DTU Data, but DTU Data stores metadata and the landing page for the DOI. This way, the online mapping tool can easily be cited and referred to, without much administration efforts.

In addition, she has published a dataset that summarizes the dataset underlying the online mapping tool. In this case, the files are stored in DTU Data ( This dataset comprises maps (.tiff files) of the spatial distribution and fishing intensity estimates of Danish fisheries over the years 2015-2020 for all gears combined and per gear type.

Marine consultancy needs data

When asked why the data are useful for the public, Karin explains: “Such data is very much needed in marine management, but hardly available, especially at the fine-scale resolution provided by the project. In order to manage the Danish waters, one has to know how they are currently used. This dataset is therefore useful for anyone with an interest in marine spatial planning or nature conservation. Potentially also to the fisheries representatives.” 

Further, the maps published in the dataset can be reused by others to spatially overlay fishing activity with any other spatial layer. This could be layers showing marine protected areas, planned offshore windfarm parks, shipping lanes, bird migratory routes. Such data can be highly valuable for evidence-based decisions on managing Danish marine resources.

“From a personal point of view,” Karin finishes, “The publication of the online mapping tool has resulted in many, many emails with additional requests and questions. However, I do believe that by publishing the linked dataset, I have saved several emails and facilitated my response (“please see this dataset”).


Link to data

van der Reijden, Karin J.; Eigaard, O.R. (Ole) (2023). The seafloor footprint of Danish fishing. Technical University of Denmark. Online resource.

van der Reijden, Karin J.; Eigaard, O.R. (Ole) (2023). Footprint of Danish bottom-towed fisheries in the Danish EEZ for 2012-2020. Technical University of Denmark. Dataset. 

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