Bottom trawling
Overview
 
Bottom trawling is trawling
Trawling
Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. The net that is used for trawling is called a trawl....

 (towing a trawl, which is a fishing net
Fishing net
A fishing net or fishnet is a net that is used for fishing. Fishing nets are meshes usually formed by knotting a relatively thin thread. Modern nets are usually made of artificial polyamides like nylon, although nets of organic polyamides such as wool or silk thread were common until recently and...

) along the sea floor. It is also often referred to as "dragging".

The scientific community divides bottom trawling into benthic
Benthic zone
The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean or a lake, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers. Organisms living in this zone are called benthos. They generally live in close relationship with the substrate bottom; many such...

 trawling and demersal
Demersal zone
The demersal zone is the part of the sea or ocean comprising the water column that is near to the seabed and the benthos. The demersal zone is just above the benthic zone and forms a layer of the larger profundal zone....

 trawling. Benthic trawling is towing a net at the very bottom of the ocean and demersal trawling is towing a net just above the benthic zone.

Bottom trawling can be contrasted with midwater trawling (also known as pelagic
Pelagic zone
Any water in a sea or lake that is not close to the bottom or near to the shore can be said to be in the pelagic zone. The word pelagic comes from the Greek πέλαγος or pélagos, which means "open sea". The pelagic zone can be thought of in terms of an imaginary cylinder or water column that goes...

 trawling), where a net is towed higher in the water column.
Encyclopedia
Bottom trawling is trawling
Trawling
Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. The net that is used for trawling is called a trawl....

 (towing a trawl, which is a fishing net
Fishing net
A fishing net or fishnet is a net that is used for fishing. Fishing nets are meshes usually formed by knotting a relatively thin thread. Modern nets are usually made of artificial polyamides like nylon, although nets of organic polyamides such as wool or silk thread were common until recently and...

) along the sea floor. It is also often referred to as "dragging".

The scientific community divides bottom trawling into benthic
Benthic zone
The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean or a lake, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers. Organisms living in this zone are called benthos. They generally live in close relationship with the substrate bottom; many such...

 trawling and demersal
Demersal zone
The demersal zone is the part of the sea or ocean comprising the water column that is near to the seabed and the benthos. The demersal zone is just above the benthic zone and forms a layer of the larger profundal zone....

 trawling. Benthic trawling is towing a net at the very bottom of the ocean and demersal trawling is towing a net just above the benthic zone.

Bottom trawling can be contrasted with midwater trawling (also known as pelagic
Pelagic zone
Any water in a sea or lake that is not close to the bottom or near to the shore can be said to be in the pelagic zone. The word pelagic comes from the Greek πέλαγος or pélagos, which means "open sea". The pelagic zone can be thought of in terms of an imaginary cylinder or water column that goes...

 trawling), where a net is towed higher in the water column. Midwater trawling catches pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish live near the surface or in the water column of coastal, ocean and lake waters, but not on the bottom of the sea or the lake. They can be contrasted with demersal fish, which do live on or near the bottom, and reef fish which are associated with coral reefs.The marine pelagic...

 such as anchovies, tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

, and mackerel
Mackerel
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel , enter bays and can be...

, whereas bottom trawling targets both bottom living fish (groundfish
Groundfish
Groundfish are fish that live on, in, or near the bottom of the body of water they inhabit. Some typical saltwater groundfish species are sole, flounder, and halibut....

) and semi-pelagic species such as cod
Cod
Cod is the common name for genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae, and is also used in the common name for various other fishes. Cod is a popular food with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of...

, squid
Squid
Squid are cephalopods of the order Teuthida, which comprises around 300 species. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, and arms. Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles...

, shrimp
Shrimp
Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important...

, and rockfish
Rockfish
Rockfish may refer to one of the following fishes:* One of several species in the Sebastes genus of the Sebastidae family, including the Shortraker rockfish, Rougheye rockfish, Blue rockfish, Yellow tail rockfish and many others....

.

Trawling is done by a trawler, which can be a small open boat with only 30 hp or a large factory trawler with 10000 hp. Bottom trawling can be carried out by one trawler or by two trawlers fishing cooperatively (pair trawling
Pair trawling
Pair trawling is a fishing activity carried out by two boats, with one towing each warp . As the mouth of the net is kept open by the lateral pull of the individual vessels, otter boards are not required...

).

History

An early reference to fishery conservation measures comes from a complaint about a form of trawling dating from the 14th century, during the reign of Edward III. A petition was presented to Parliament
Good Parliament
The Good Parliament is the name traditionally given to the English Parliament of 1376. Sitting in London from April 28 to July 10, it was the longest Parliament up until that time....

 in 1376 calling for the prohibition of a "subtlety contrived instrument called the wondyrchoum". This was an early beam trawl with a wooden beam, and consisted of a net 6 m (18 ft) long and 3 m (10 ft) wide,

"of so small a mesh, no manner of fish, however small, entering within it can pass out and is compelled to remain therein and be taken...by means of which instrument the fishermen aforesaid take so great abundance of small fish aforesaid, that they know not what to do with them, but feed and fatten the pigs with them, to the great damage of the whole commons of the kingdom, and the destruction of the fisheries in like places, for which they pray remedy."

Another source describes the wondyrchoun as

"three fathom long and ten mens' feet wide, and that it had a beam ten feet long, at the end of which were two frames formed like a colerake, that a leaded rope weighted with a great many stones was fixed on the lower part of the net between the two frames, and that another rope was fixed with nails on the upper part of the beam, so that the fish entering the space between the beam and the lower net were caught. The net had maskes of the length and breadth of two men’s thumbs”

The response from the Crown was to "let Commission be made by qualified persons to inquire and certify on the truth of this allegation, and thereon let right be done in the Court of Chancery". Thus, already back in the Middle Ages, basic arguments about three of the most sensitive current issues surrounding trawling - the effect of trawling on the wider environment, the use of small mesh size, and of industrial fishing for animal feed - were already being raised.

Until the late 18th century sailing vessels were only capable of towing small trawls. However, in the closing years of that century a type of vessel emerged that was capable of towing a large trawl, in deeper waters. The development of this type of craft, the sailing trawler, is credited to the fishermen of Brixham in Devon. The new method proved to be far more efficient than traditional long-lining. At first its use was confined to the western half of the English Channel, but as the Brixham men extended their range to the North Sea and Irish Sea it became the norm there too.

By the end of the 19th century there were more than 3,000 sailing trawlers in commission in UK waters and the practice had spread to neighbouring European countries. Despite the availability of steam, trawling under sail continued to be economically efficient, and sailing trawlers continued to be built until the middle of the 1920s. Some were still operating in UK waters until the outbreak of World War II, and in Scandinavia and the Faroe Islands until the 1950s.

English commissions in the 19th century determined that there should be no limitation on trawling. They believed that bottom trawling, like tilling of land, actually increased production. As evidence, they noted that a second trawler would often follow a first trawler, and that the second trawler would often harvest even more fish than the first. The reason for this peculiarity is that the destruction caused by the first trawl resulted in many dead and dying organisms, which temporarily attracted a large number of additional species to feed on this moribund mass.

Bottom trawling has been widely implicated in the population collapse of a variety of fish species, locally and worldwide, including orange roughy
Orange roughy
The orange roughy, red roughy, or deep sea perch, Hoplostethus atlanticus, is a relatively large deep-sea fish belonging to the slimehead family . The Marine Conservation Society has categorized orange roughy as vulnerable to exploitation...

, barndoor skate
Barndoor skate
The barndoor skate, Dipturus laevis, is a species of marine cartilaginous fish in the skate family of the order Rajiformes. It is native to the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, and is found from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the southern side of the Gulf of St. Lawrence south to North Carolina...

, shark
Shark
Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

, and many others.

Fishing gear

The design requirements of a bottom trawl are relatively simple, a mechanism for keeping the mouth of the net open in horizontal and vertical dimensions, a "body" of net which guides fish inwards, and a "cod-end" of a suitable mesh size, where the fish are collected. The size and design of net used is determined by the species being targeted, the engine power and design of the fishing vessel and locally enforced regulations.

Beam trawling

The simplest method of bottom trawling, the mouth of the net is held open by a solid metal beam, attached to two "shoes", which are solid metal plates, welded to the ends of the beam, which slide over and disturb the seabed. This method is mainly used on smaller vessels, fishing for flatfish
Flatfish
The flatfish are an order of ray-finned fish, also called the Heterosomata, sometimes classified as a suborder of Perciformes. In many species, both eyes lie on one side of the head, one or the other migrating through and around the head during development...

 or prawn
Prawn
Prawns are decapod crustaceans of the sub-order Dendrobranchiata. There are 540 extant species, in seven families, and a fossil record extending back to the Devonian...

s, relatively close inshore.

Otter trawling

Otter trawling derives its name from the large rectangular otter boards which are used to keep the mouth of the trawl net open. Otter boards are made of timber or steel and are positioned in such a way that the hydrodynamic forces, acting on them when the net is towed along the seabed, pushes them outwards and prevents the mouth of the net from closing. They also act like a plough
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

, digging up to 15 cm into the seabed, creating a turbid cloud, and scaring fish towards the net mouth.
The net is held open vertically on an otter trawl by floats and/or kites attached to the "headline" (the rope which runs along the upper mouth of the net), and weighted "bobbins" attached to the "foot rope" (the rope which runs along the lower mouth of the net). These bobbins vary in their design depending on the roughness of the sea bed which is being fished, varying from small rubber discs for very smooth, sandy ground, to large metal balls, up to 0.5 m in diameter for very rough ground. These bobbins can also be designed to lift the net off the seabed when they hit an obstacle. These are known as "rock-hopper" gears.

Body of the trawl

The body of the trawl is funnel-like, wide at its "mouth" and narrowing towards the cod end, and usually is fitted with wings of netting at the both sides of the mouth. It is long enough to assure adequate flow of water and prevent fish from escaping the net, after having been caught. It is made of diamond-meshed netting, the size of the meshes decreasing from the front of the net towards the codend. Into the body, fish and turtle escape devices can be fitted. These can be simple structures like "square mesh panels", which are easier for smaller fish to pass through, or more complicated devices, such as bycatch
Bycatch
The term “bycatch” is usually used for fish caught unintentionally in a fishery while intending to catch other fish. It may however also indicate untargeted catch in other forms of animal harvesting or collecting...

 grills.

Cod end

The cod end is the trailing end of the net where fish are finally "caught". The size of mesh in the cod end is a determinant of the size of fish which the net catches. Consequently, regulation of mesh size is a common way of managing mortality
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 of juvenile fishes in trawl nets.

How trawls work

The idea that fish are passively "scooped up" is commonly held, and has been since trawling was first developed, but has been revealed to be erroneous. Since the development of scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 equipment and cheap video camera
Video camera
A video camera is a camera used for electronic motion picture acquisition, initially developed by the television industry but now common in other applications as well. The earliest video cameras were those of John Logie Baird, based on the electromechanical Nipkow disk and used by the BBC in...

s it has been possible to directly observe the processes that occur when a trawl is towed along the seabed.
The trawl doors disturb the sea bed, create a cloud of muddy water which hides the oncoming trawl net and generates a noise which attracts fish. The fish begin to swim in front of the net mouth, but do not seem to be distressed by it. As the trawl continues along the seabed, fish begin to tire and slip backwards into the net. Finally, the fish become exhausted and drop back, into the "cod end" and are caught.
The speed that the trawl is towed at depends on the swimming speed of the species which is being targeted and the exact gear that is being used, but for most demersal
Demersal zone
The demersal zone is the part of the sea or ocean comprising the water column that is near to the seabed and the benthos. The demersal zone is just above the benthic zone and forms a layer of the larger profundal zone....

 species, a speed of around 4 knots (7 km/h) is appropriate.

Environmental impacts

Bottom fishing has operated for over a century on heavily fished grounds such as the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and Grand Banks
Grand Banks
The Grand Banks of Newfoundland are a group of underwater plateaus southeast of Newfoundland on the North American continental shelf. These areas are relatively shallow, ranging from in depth. The cold Labrador Current mixes with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream here.The mixing of these waters...

. Although overfishing
Overfishing
Overfishing occurs when fishing activities reduce fish stocks below an acceptable level. This can occur in any body of water from a pond to the oceans....

 has caused huge ecological changes to the fish community on the Grand Banks, concern has been raised recently about the damage which benthic trawling inflicts upon seabed communities. A species of particular concern is the slow growing, deep water coral
Coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

 Lophelia pertusa
Lophelia pertusa
Lophelia pertusa is a species of cold-water coral which grows in the deep waters throughout the North Atlantic ocean, as well as parts of the Caribbean Sea and Alboran Sea. L...

. This species is home to a diverse community of deep sea organisms, but is easily damaged by fishing gear. On November 17, 2004 the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 urged nations to consider temporary bans on high seas bottom trawling.

Resuspension

Bottom trawling stirs up the sediment at the bottom of the sea. The suspended solid
Suspended solids
Suspended solids refers to small solid particles which remain in suspension in water as a colloid or due to the motion of the water. It is used as one indicator of water quality....

 plumes can drift with the current for tens of kilometres from the source of the trawling. These plumes introduce a turbidity
Turbidity
Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality....

 which decreases light levels at the bottom and can affect kelp
Kelp
Kelps are large seaweeds belonging to the brown algae in the order Laminariales. There are about 30 different genera....

 reproduction.

Ocean sediments are the sink for many persistent organic pollutants, usually lipophilic
Lipophilic
Lipophilicity, , refers to the ability of a chemical compound to dissolve in fats, oils, lipids, and non-polar solvents such as hexane or toluene. These non-polar solvents are themselves lipophilic — the axiom that like dissolves like generally holds true...

 pollutants like DDT, PCB
Polychlorinated biphenyl
Polychlorinated biphenyls are a class of organic compounds with 2 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl, which is a molecule composed of two benzene rings. The chemical formula for PCBs is C12H10-xClx...

 and PAH
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons , also known as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, are potent atmospheric pollutants that consist of fused aromatic rings and do not contain heteroatoms or carry substituents. Naphthalene is the simplest example of a PAH...

. Bottom trawling mixes these pollutants into the plankton ecology
Plankton
Plankton are any drifting organisms that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification...

 where they can move back up the food chain
Food chain
A food web depicts feeding connections in an ecological community. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1) the autotrophs, and 2) the heterotrophs...

 and into our food supply.

Phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 is often found in high concentration in soft shallow sediments. Resuspending nutrient solids like these can introduce oxygen demand into the water column, and result in oxygen deficient dead zone
Dead zone (ecology)
Dead zones are hypoxic areas in the world's oceans, the observed incidences of which have been increasing since oceanographers began noting them in the 1970s. These occur near inhabited coastlines, where aquatic life is most concentrated...

s.

Even in areas where the bottom sediments are ancient, bottom trawling, by reintroducing the sediment into the water column, can create harmful algae blooms. More suspended solids are introduced into the oceans from bottom trawling than any other man-made source.

Deep sea impacts

The UN Secretary General reported in 2006 that 95 percent of damage to seamount
Seamount
A seamount is a mountain rising from the ocean seafloor that does not reach to the water's surface , and thus is not an island. These are typically formed from extinct volcanoes, that rise abruptly and are usually found rising from a seafloor of depth. They are defined by oceanographers as...

 ecosystems worldwide is caused by deep sea
Deep sea
The deep sea, or deep layer, is the lowest layer in the ocean, existing below the thermocline and above the seabed, at a depth of 1000 fathoms or more. Little or no light penetrates this part of the ocean and most of the organisms that live there rely for subsistence on falling organic matter...

 bottom trawling.

Current restrictions

Today, some countries regulate bottom trawling within their jurisdictions: http://www.savethehighseas.org/recentaction.cfm

• The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

 banned bottom trawling off most of its Pacific coast in early 2006 and has restricted the practice severely off its other coasts as well. http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/releases2006/mar06/noaa06-r104.html This Federal regulation affects areas between 3–300 miles from the coast (areas within 3 miles (4.8 km) of the coast are State regulated).

• The Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 in 2004 applied “a precautionary approach” and closed the sensitive Darwin Mounds
Darwin Mounds
Darwin Mounds describes a vast field of undersea sand mounds situated off the north west coast of Scotland, first discovered in May 1998, they provide a unique habitat for ancient deep water coral reefs...

 off Scotland to bottom trawling.

• In 2005, the FAO
Fão
Fão is a town in Esposende Municipality in Portugal....

’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) banned bottom trawling below 1000 metres and, in January 2006, completely closed ecologically sensitive areas off Italy, Cyprus, and Egypt to all bottom trawling.

Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 first recognized in 1999 that trawling had caused significant damage to its cold-water lophelia corals. Norway has since established a program to determine the location of cold-water corals within its EEZ so as to quickly close those areas to bottom trawling.

Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 has acted to protect vulnerable coral reef ecosystems from bottom trawling off Nova Scotia. The Northeast Channel was protected by a fisheries closure in 2002, and the Gully area was protected by its designation as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2004.

Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 in 1999 established the Tasmanian Seamounts Marine Reserve to prohibit bottom trawling in the south Tasman Sea. Australia also prohibits bottom trawling in The Great Australian Bight Marine Park near Ceduna off South Australia. In 2004, Australia established the world’s largest marine protected area in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park where fishing and other extractive activities are prohibited.

New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 in 2001 closed 19 seamounts within its EEZ to bottom trawling, including in the Chatham Rise, sub-Antarctic waters, and off the east and west coasts of the North Island. New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton
Jim Anderton
James Patrick Anderton, usually known as Jim Anderton , is the leader of the Progressive Party, a New Zealand political party. He has served in Parliament since 1984. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002 and is currently also the sitting Father of the House, the longest...

 announced on 14 February 2006 that a draft agreement had been reached with fishing companies to ban bottom trawling in 30 percent of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone
Exclusive Economic Zone
Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical...

, an area of about 1.2 million km² reaching from sub-Antarctic waters to sub-tropical ones. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10368258 But only a small fraction of the area proposed for protection will cover areas actually vulnerable to bottom trawling. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3766013a6160,00.html

Palau
Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

 has banned all bottom trawling within its jurisdiction and by any Palauan or Palauan corporation anywhere in the world. http://www.savethehighseas.org/display.cfm?ID=104

• The President of Kiribati
Kiribati
Kiribati , officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 , and is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, straddling the...

, Anote Tong, announced in early 2006 the formation of the world’s first deep sea marine reserve area. This measure—the Phoenix Islands Protected Area—creates the world’s third largest marine protected area and may protect deep sea corals, fish, and seamounts from bottom trawling. http://smh.com.au/news/world/kiribati-creates-worlds-first-deepsea-marine-reserve/2006/03/29/1143441214620.html However, the actual boundaries of this reserve and what harvest limitations may occur therein have not been detailed. Moreover, Kiribati currently has only 1 patrol boat to monitor this proposed region.

Lack of regulation

Beyond national jurisdictions, most bottom trawling is unregulated either because there is no Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) with competence to regulate, or else what RFMOs that do exist have not actually regulated. The major exception to this is in the Antarctic region, where the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, also Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and CCAMLR, is part of the Antarctic Treaty System...

 regime has instituted extensive bottom trawling restrictions. http://www.ccamlr.org/pu/E/e_pubs/am/man-ant/p4.htm The North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) also recently closed four seamounts and part of the mid-Atlantic Ridge from all fishing, including bottom trawling, for three years. This still leaves most of international waters completely without bottom trawl regulation.

As of May 2007 the area managed under the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation
Regional Fisheries Management Organisation
A Regional Fisheries Management Organisation , sometimes called regional fisheries organisation , is an international organisation dedicated to the sustainable management of fishery resources in a particular region of international waters, or of highly migratory species.RFMOs may focus on certain...

 (SPRFMO) http://www.southpacificrfmo.org/ has gained a new level of protection. All countries fishing in the region (accounting for about 25 percent of the global ocean) agreed to exclude bottom trawling on high seas areas where vulnerable ecosystems are likely or known to occur until a specific impact assessment is undertaken and precautionary measures have been are implemented. Also observers will be required on all high seas bottom trawlers to ensure enforcement of the regulations.

Failed United Nations ban

Palau
Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

 President Tommy Remengesau
Tommy Remengesau
Thomas Esang Remengesau, Jr. is a Palauan politician who served as president of Palau from 2001 to 2009.He became vice-president in 1992 and was elected as president in 2000; he took office on January 1, 2001. He wished to make Palau less dependent upon United States aid, and to promote limited...

 has called for a ban on destructive and unregulated bottom trawling beyond national jurisdictions and Palau has led the effort at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and in the Pacific to achieve a consensus by countries to take this action at an international level. http://www.palauun.org/news_archive.cfm?news_id=76 http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2525e.html Palau has been joined by the Federated States of Micronesia
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia or FSM is an independent, sovereign island nation, made up of four states from west to east: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. It comprises approximately 607 islands with c...

, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls...

 in supporting an interim bottom trawling ban at the United Nations. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0608/S00026.htm The proposal for this ban did not result in any actual legislation and was blocked. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6181396.stm

In 2006, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton
Jim Anderton
James Patrick Anderton, usually known as Jim Anderton , is the leader of the Progressive Party, a New Zealand political party. He has served in Parliament since 1984. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002 and is currently also the sitting Father of the House, the longest...

 promised to support a global ban on bottom trawling if there was sufficient support to make that a practical option. Bottom Trawling has been banned in 1/3 of New Zealand's waters (although a large percentage of these areas were not viable for bottom trawling in the first place) http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10368258

See also

  • Fishing trawler
  • Mincarlo
    Mincarlo (trawler)
    Mincarlo is the last surviving sidewinder fishing trawler of the Lowestoft fishing fleet. She is also the last surviving fishing vessel built in Lowestoft, with an engine made in the town.-Construction:...

     a Lowestoft
    Lowestoft
    Lowestoft is a town in the English county of Suffolk. The town is on the North Sea coast and is the most easterly point of the United Kingdom. It is north-east of London, north-east of Ipswich and south-east of Norwich...

     sidewinder trawler
  • Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
    Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
    The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition is an alliance of over 60 international organizations working to promote the conservation of biodiversity on the high seas...

     (DSCC)
  • Drifter
    Drifter (fishing boat)
    A drifter is a type of fishing boat. They were designed to catch herrings in a long drift net. Herring fishing using drifters has a long history in the Netherlands and in many British fishing ports, particularly in East Scottish ports....

  • Fishing industry
    Fishing industry
    The fishing industry includes any industry or activity concerned with taking, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing or selling fish or fish products....

  • Midwater trawling
  • Pair trawling
    Pair trawling
    Pair trawling is a fishing activity carried out by two boats, with one towing each warp . As the mouth of the net is kept open by the lateral pull of the individual vessels, otter boards are not required...


Further reading

  • Benn A. R., Weaver P. P., Billet D. S. M., van den Hove S., Murdock A. P. et al. (2010). "Human Activities on the Deep Seafloor in the North East Atlantic: An Assessment of Spatial Extent". PLoS ONE
    PLoS ONE
    PLoS ONE is an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science since 2006. It covers primary research from any discipline within science and medicine. All submissions go through an internal and external pre-publication peer review but are not excluded on the...

    5(9): e12730. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012730.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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