Yesterday saw the launch of a new coalition demanding an end to bottom trawling in coastal waters. The Transform Bottom Trawling (TBT) coalition is working for a world where destructive bottom trawling is removed from coastal waters. These waters are home to the most marine biodiversity, support the most small-scale fisheries, and contain vast carbon stores.
Bottom trawling is one of the most popular and most destructive industrial-scale methods for catching fish. Bottom trawlers drag weighted nets as wide as a football field across the seabed, destroying vast amounts of marine life. Fragile habitats that provide food and shelter for a wide variety of sea creatures can be crushed in minutes. Many never recover. Industrial bottom trawling encourages overfishing, pollutes our planet, and jeopardises the livelihoods of coastal communities.
Blue Ventures co-founded the TBT coalition to demand that all coastal nations urgently tackle bottom trawling, with evidence of a globally reduced footprint by 2030. The coalition’s call to action was co-developed with organisations from across the fisheries and conservation sectors, including small-scale fishers’ and fishworkers’ collectives, locally-based organisations, and environmental NGOs.
The world faces an ocean emergency: devastating loss of nature due to climate change, habitat damage, and overconsumption. Changes need to be made to our management of natural resources, including fisheries.
The Transform Bottom Trawling coalition members believe that fixing overfishing is the single most powerful thing we can do to overcome the ocean emergency. The coalition is calling for world leaders to:
- Establish, expand, and strengthen national inshore exclusion zones (IEZs) for small-scale fishers in which bottom trawling is prohibited.
- Prohibit bottom trawling in all marine protected areas (outside IEZs) to ensure vulnerable habitats and ecosystems are effectively protected and recovered.
- End subsidised bottom trawling and allocate financial and technical resources to support a fair transition for fleets.
- Prohibit the expansion of bottom trawling to new, untrawled areas unless and until it can be proven that there are no significant adverse impacts.
The coalition, which includes Oceana, Our Seas Scotland, the Environmental Justice Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, and Dahari, urges organisations who care about protecting and restoring the ocean to join the coalition now.
What is bottom trawling, and why is it a problem? Explore the Transform Bottom Trawling Frequently Asked Questions.
Read the Transform Bottom Trawling coalition’s call to action.
Sign up to join the Transform Bottom Trawling coalition.
Discover some of the existing bottom trawling bans in Belize, Madagascar (see section III: ‘Zones, Nombre, différents types et répartition des droits d’exploitation’) and proposals for trawling bans in the UK.