The Most Detailed Insight Into Trawl Fishing’s Impact On Our Oceans – Using High Res Data

Source: Phys.org/University of Washington

Photo: Giancarlo Revolledo/Unsplash

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About a quarter of the world’s seafood caught in the ocean comes from bottom trawling, a method that involves dragging a net along the ocean’s shelves and slopes to scoop up shrimp, cod, rockfish, sole and other kinds of bottom-dwelling fish and shellfish. The technique impacts these seafloor ecosystems, because other marine life and habitats can be killed or disturbed unintentionally as nets sweep across the seafloor.

Scientists agree that extensive bottom trawling can negatively affect marine ecosystems, but the central question—how much of the seafloor is trawled, or the so-called footprint of trawling—has been hard to nail down.

A new analysis that uses high-resolution data for 24 ocean regions in Africa, Europe, North and South America and Australasia shows that 14 percent of the overall seafloor shallower than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) is trawled. Most trawl fishing happens in this depth range along  and slopes in the world’s oceans. The study focused on this depth range, covering an area of about 7.8 million square kilometers of ocean.

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Photo: Giancarlo Revolledo/Unsplash

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