Bottom trawling: Greece to ban seabed fishing by 2030 and expand protected waters: Animals: Nature World News

Bottom trawling is a fishing practice that targets the seabed to catch bottom-dwelling fish. It mainly uses a large fishing net to scoop and pull fish from the seabed, but not in the deep ocean. Although the said method seems efficient in the fishing sector, several criticisms have been leveled against bottom trawling due to its potential to cause damage and destruction to marine life.

Over the past decade, several countries have banned bottom trawling in part of their marine territories or jurisdictions. Last month, Britain banned the infamous fishing practice in parts of its protected waters. The measure is intended to protect both marine animals and their natural habitats, which are damaged by bottom trawls as they are dragged along the seabed.

Earlier this week, Greece announced an initiative to end bottom trawling in its protected waters by 2030. The European country also plans to expand its protected waters by creating two major marine parks, allowing fish and other marine life to thrive in secured areas. Despite these efforts, bottom trawling, which damages the ecosystem, has not yet been completely banned by countries around the world.

Greece stops bottom trawling

(Photo: Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash)

At an international conference in Athens, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki stated that while the ocean has provided humans with a source of life and livelihood, “we have not been kind to it in return.” Prime Minister Mitsotaki also announced that Greece will ban bottom trawling in the country’s national marine parks by 2026 and in all marine protected areas by 2030.

The announcement adds that the Greek government will establish a “state-of-the-art surveillance system” powered by artificial intelligence, drones and satellites. This system will allow local authorities to effectively patrol protected areas by 2026. In addition, Mitsotaki mentioned his government’s plan to reduce plastic waste in waters by 50% and microplastics by 30% by 2030.

Also read: Protected fishing areas allow great white sharks to grow up to 6 meters in length and tiger sharks to grow up to 6 metres

How dangerous is bottom trawling?

As previously mentioned, bottom trawling has been criticized by many, not for its purpose of catching seafood, but for the damage it causes to the marine environment. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), trawling destroys the natural habitat on the seabed and all bottom-dwelling animals and plants are affected by the way the fishing net is dragged across the seabed.

The USGS emphasized that fishing practices can result in different types of sediment on the seafloor, such as sand, silt or mud, which can lead to various ecological impacts. The threats posed by bottom trawling are also borne out by science, as previous research has shown that it not only harms ocean flora and fauna, but also contributes to climate change and global warming.

According to a January 2024 study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine SciencesBottom trawling is responsible for releasing as much as 370 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. This makes the fishing method destructive for both marine life and the climate, according to researchers.

Related article: California salmon fishing season canceled due to grim reports from experts

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