What is Trawling?

Aug 09 2011

One of the greatest threats to the balance of ocean life is trawling.  A trawl is a large wide-mouthed fishing net that is dragged through the ocean in either mid-water or deep on the ocean floor (e.g. bottom trawling).  Fisherman use bottom trawling with the goal of catching an array of species including: shrimp, haddock, flounder and rockfish.  The problem is that these nets are not discriminatory and destroy everything in their wake.  This means cold-water corals and crustaceans and many species from the common to the extremely rare and even endangered.  The risk posed by bottom trawling to the seabed is clear, but what is the problem with just using mid-water trawling?  The problem is that although mid-water trawls are kept closer to the surface, the weight of the catch will sometimes cause the nets to drag on the seafloor creating damage that is similar to that of bottom trawling.  Not to mention there are still a good amount of species that are unintentionally caught in these nets.  On top of all these problems, there is still another issue that is shared by both; over-fishing.  There are ten species of fish that “account for more than one quarter of all commercial fishery production” and nine of them are endangered.  If a change is not made soon entire “seafood populations could be wiped out by the second half of this century.”  To learn more check out Oceana.

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