What Is TRAWL FISHING - How It Works And Environmental Issues

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Trawling is one of the most widely used methods of extracting and obtaining living resources. For example, trawling in the Mediterranean is one of the most common and is used to fish for hake, prawns, shrimp and Norway lobster, among others.

However, it is a type of fishing that destroys the seabed, as the nets of trawlers pull out all kinds of corals, algae and microorganisms in their path, becoming a great threat that damages the seabed of all areas. regions of the planet where this type of fishing is carried out.

In this Green Ecologist article we tell you what is trawling, and the environmental problems that it entails.

What is trawling and how does it work

The trawling or retro fishing It is an active fishing, that is, it does not wait for the movement of the fish to catch it and is based, fundamentally, on the use of a heavy net that sweep the bottom of the sea. This type of fishing emerged during the second part of the fourteenth century and its use has grown exponentially until today. In addition, it is used increasingly deeper in the waters of seas and oceans in different corners of the planet.

Trawling is one of the least selective fisheries that exist, since captures everything you find during the dragging process. It is a type of fishing that uses industrial methods, destroying the seabed during the process of catching fish.

Regarding its main tool, there are two types of trawl nets:

  • Bottom trawls: they exclusively catch different species of fish that inhabit the seabed, such as shrimp, Norway lobster, flatfish, cod, hake, etc.
  • Pelagic trawls: They are used to capture those species that, on the contrary, live on the surface or between two waters. This is the case of sardines, horse mackerel, sea bass, among others.

Environmental problems of trawling

Trawling destroys sedimentary ecosystems that constitute the deep seabed, removing and lifting the different particles that constitute the sediment and leaving numerous small organisms in suspension. They are the main inhabitants of marine sediments, which constitute the base of the food chain in these ecosystems at great depths.

In addition, it reduces the organic carbon content and reduces biodiversity, becoming one of the main causes of the degradation of the seabed. In this way, the seabed will remain as a poor and compacted surface sediment, making a new colonization of species in this ecosystem more difficult. In this other Green Ecologist article you can learn more about the Loss of biodiversity: causes and consequences.

This topic is also related to the environmental problem of the abuse of the resources that nature offers us and, therefore, we advise you to also read this other post on the Overexploitation of natural resources: causes and consequences.

Types of trawlers or trawlers

The trawlers or trawlers they use trawls and motors with adequate power for the speed of the trawl, using bottom and pelagic trawls.

Among the types of trawlers we can find:

  • Sideways trawler: trawls are located on the side of the boat. They also have two davits (on-board cranes that rotate out from the sides. The hull of the boat is reinforced at the height of the davits against the friction of the trawl doors.
  • Stern trawler: Nets towing cables running from deck to stern.
  • Freezer trawlers: They are ships of the high seas. They have refrigeration facilities and freezing equipment, as well as refrigerated warehouses. Sometimes they even have mechanical equipment for gutting and filleting fish, as well as for making oils, flour and preserves.
  • Pole trawlers: They use one or two heavy nets extended from the sides, towing them using booms (an iron structure shaped like a stick that is pulled out of the boat by its side, for different uses). It is the typical trawler used for shrimp and flatfish fishing in the North Sea.

Is trawling prohibited?

As we have discussed previously, trawling is very harmful to the seabed. For this reason its use and more regulation is required.

In many countries trawling is regulated, although in very few it is even prohibited. Its prohibition would be a great advance for the economy of the fishing sector, favoring the maintenance of marine biodiversity, as well as the balance and regeneration of marine resources.

There is still a long way to go until it is possible to have a type of trawling that includes among its objectives sustainability and respect for the marine environment, for which different agreements will be necessary at the international and national level.

If you want to read more articles similar to What is trawling, we recommend that you enter our category of Other environment.

  • M. Sommer (2005) Trawling. Silent annihilation. Electronic Journal of Veterinary Medicine, REDVET, I returned.
  • D. Compán (2003) Sea fishing in Andalusia. University of Granada
  • S. Biton (2009) Biology of sea turtles and impact of trawling on their conservation in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Cádiz. Chelonia Association Monograph, Vol 1.
  • Artisanal fishing versus trawling. (2011) EFE Verde Magazine.
  • Trawling causes the biological desertification of the seabed. (2014) EFE Verde Magazine.
  • The Government of Spain protects 40,000 marine hectares of the Balearic Islands and vetoes trawling. (2014) EFE Verde Magazine.
You will help the development of the site, sharing the page with your friends
This page in other languages: