BOTTOM TRAWLING IS KILLING US
Imagine the damage a net bigger than a jumbo jet does as it drags across the sea bed. Catching everything in its path (whatever that might be), it destroys marine habitats and releases the ‘blue’ carbon stored there. Also, nets break. And when they do, they are cut free to float across the Ocean killing anything that gets tangled up in them. After they break, another is ready to go, continuing the death toll.
If the destruction of the wildlife and habitat isn’t bad enough in itself, there’s the sheer waste—scientists have estimated that bottom trawlers in our North Sea kill about 16kg of marine animals for every kilo of sole caught. This is known as bycatch and this environmental slaughter is built into the Bottom Trawling business model.
Humanity has declared war on fish and we’re winning. The ocean is so depleted that small fishing communities are on the edge of survival. Areas once of plenty are now empty.
Currently Bottom Trawling is estimated to emit more CO2 than global aviation.
The type of CO2 Bottom Trawling releases is called Blue Carbon. This is carbon stored in seabed sediments, marine habitats and the fish caught there. When blue carbon sediments are damaged, they can switch from sinks to sources of CO2 and of methane (CH4), a much more potent greenhouse gas. Blue Carbon is also stored in marine animals, so fish taken out of the sea also add to Blue Carbon release. All this contributes to ocean acidification which is threatening to eradicate any marine life with skeletons or shells in the relatively near-term. Countless marine species are now threatened with extinction.
The Ocean currently absorbs carbon from our air but as these carbon levels increase, things change for the worse. “The ocean absorbs a quarter to more than a third of our CO2 emissions every year. So if we increase the CO2 in the water, that will diminish the ability of that part of the ocean to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere,” explains Dr Sala, Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic. We need the Ocean to continue to breathe. If it stops we’ll stop breathing too.
Coastal waters do a lot of carbon capture and storage. Not so long ago Scottish coastal waters were protected from Bottom Trawling by a ‘three mile limit’. This was introduced in 1889 to help combat damage to fish populations and protect small-scale fishing boats. The limit was abolished in 1984. Since then coastal waters all around the UK have been under constant attack from bigger and bigger super trawlers. There’s no protection for UK coastal waters and marine life, not even in Marine Protected Areas. And we’re not talking about bearded grey-haired men in tiny tug boats living in harmony with the sea, we’re talking massive sea based factories. Most of our fish is caught by SLAUGHTER HOUSE-ON-SEA. Here’s a picture of a modern day Captain Bird’s Eye boat – yes this one really does catch fish fingers! And the one below is even bigger and it’s trawling our waters as you read this.
Bottom Trawling accounts for half of the UK’s fish catch. A lot of that catch is labelled ‘sustainable’ by industry puppets like the Marine Stewardship Council and then sold in your favourite supermarket. Industrial fishing is not sustainable. But there are other small-scale fishing methods which can be sustainable. They will mean paying more for our seafood but they will protect the Ocean for future generations to enjoy.
Super trawlers are trawling UK waters, even our Marine Protected Areas. If this continues there will be NO MORE FISH IN THE SEA.
We demand all marine bodies TELL THE TRUTH about industrial fishing and stop greenwashing the industry with ‘sustainability’ lies.
We demand governments end bottom trawling, worldwide NOW, together with a just transition for displaced fisheries workers.
Take part in our supermarket ‘unsustainable fishing’ certification scheme:
Sign this community-led petition to return the three mile limit to safeguard Scottish waters from Bottom Trawling:
Sign this European petition to stop Bottom Trawling in Marine Protected Areas:
And this UK petition by the makers of Seaspiracy: