A new initiative launches today to share testimonies and experiences of small-scale fishers and fishworkers affected by bottom trawling. Fisher Testimonies, an online resource developed by the Transform Bottom Trawling Coalition, also showcases practical locally-led solutions that coastal communities have taken to tackle this pervasive destructive fishing practice.
The Fisher Testimonies map details diverse first hand accounts of the scale and impacts of bottom trawling, drawing on community testimonies from as far afield as Sierra Leone, Chile, Indonesia and Scotland.
Bottom trawling is a uniquely damaging method of fishing that accounts for around one quarter of global seafood landings. It undermines artisanal fisheries, destroys marine ecosystems and releases massive amounts of carbon into our environment.
The destruction wrought by bottom trawling goes much deeper than the staggering loss of marine life. More than 100 million people rely on small-scale fishing − often depending on the same waters targeted by destructive trawlers. By pulverising complex habitats and undermining fish populations, bottom trawling creates unnecessary conflict and diminishes fisheries that are critical to the livelihoods and food security of some of the most vulnerable people on earth.
Small-scale fishing communities are the best stewards of our oceans, holding a deep understanding of marine life and the natural cycles that they encounter on a daily basis, and should be at the centre of solutions to restore our seas. They are the largest single group of ocean users by far, and their fishing practices are typically far more sustainable than fishing gears deployed by industrial vessels. They have the potential to play a pivotal role in managing coastal fisheries, helping restore degraded ecosystems and transitioning towards a more sustainable, resilient ocean economy.
This new resource amplifies the voices of fishers and fishworkers to help highlight the ways in which bottom trawling affects them. The platform presents solutions that work for coastal communities, allowing users to take inspiration and action by learning from other fishers’ experiences.
Blue Ventures is proud to be a founder member of The Transform Bottom Trawling Coalition, founded in 2021, to call on all coastal states to urgently address and reduce the damaging impacts of bottom trawling, with evidence of a globally reduced footprint by 2030.
The testimonies in the map have been generously provided by fishers and fishworkers and collected by members of the Transform Bottom Trawling Coalition. If you are a fisher or fishworker and would like to contribute a testimony, or if you are a coalition supporter and would like to help gather testimonies, please contact [email protected].
If you have concerns or enquiries about any testimonies, please let us know.