Before and after view of bottom trawling.
Here are a few of their worst falsehoods:
"There is zero scientific evidence, not one shred of scientific
evidence, that these fisheries do any damage to the bottom
-- John Risley, chairman of the Canadian company Clearwater
by the CBC, 15 November 2006)
There is actually an overwhelming about of evidence that bottom
trawling is an extremely destructive form of fishing.
1,452 scientists from 69 countries have signed a statement calling on governments and the United Nations to adopt a moratorium
on high seas bottom trawling.
The statement starts: "As marine scientists and conservation
biologists, we are profoundly concerned that human activities,
particularly bottom trawling, are causing unprecedented damage to
the deep-sea coral and sponge communities on continental plateaus
and slopes, and on seamounts and mid-ocean ridges."
Full statement can be found here.
To quote one Canadian scientist:
"Deep-sea corals and sponges are crucial habitat elements for
seafloor species," Dr Daniel Pauly, of the University of British
Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, told BBC News at the AAAS
"Allowing trawling in coral 'forests' is the worst thing we are
doing in the ocean today. It should be stopped immediately until
scientists can determine whether trawling in the deep sea can be
reported by the BBC, 16 February 2004)
If you would rather believe your own eyes
than the scientific experts, thanks to an Icelandic trawler
captain we have underwater video of a bottom trawling. Watch his
reaction when he sees what bottom trawling is doing to the
If that's not enough,
here's footage of a New Zealand bottom trawler throwing coral
back overboard. (Windows Media Player)
And here's a giant piece of coral dragged up by a bottom trawl
net being dumped overboard. (
Click for larger.)
Also worth seeing is this BBC
report about deep-sea corals and bottom trawling. (Link in
"We are not in any way blocking a consensus."
-- Lori Ridgeway, director general of policy affairs
Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans
(Reported in various Canadian new sources,
Canada and Spain (through its choke hold on the EU position) are
the two key countries blocking a UN consensus for a moratorium on
bottom trawling. See our
league table for where other countries stand.
Countries on team Ocean Defenders have publicly committed to a
moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.
See also our "
Canada and bottom trawling talking points".
The argument that laws shouldn't be made because someone will
break them, is absurd.
In fact, a blanket moratorium would be one of the easier
approaches when it comes to enforcement because there is no
ambiguity. A ship is either bottom trawling or it is not; it is
either in the high seas or it is not.
There are only a few hundred of bottom trawling vessels
in the world - taking only 0.5 percent of the global marine
catch (by value, according to the UNEP). It is a sorry state of
affairs if the world's combined fisheries management agencies are
not up to the task of enforcing this moratorium.
Canada and Spain have both helped enforce a ban on high seas driftnet fishing since 1993.
Of course, the moratorium should be coupled with a call for the
rapid development of monitoring, surveillance and enforcement
measures to ensure that legally caught fish are able to be tracked
and monitored and that fish without such cannot be landed.
What's at stake
Some bottom trawling proponents would lead us to believe there
are no vulnerable ecosystems at risk. That there is only "a
platform of sand" being trawled over.
The reality is there are vital and vulnerable ecosystems needing
our protection, but we don't even know where most of them are.
Ninety percent our oceans are unexplored.
But to give you an idea of the stakes, here are a few pictures
of what's already been discovered...
Tell Spain and the EU to support the moratorium!
Tell Canada to support the moratorium!