Ban bottom trawling in marine protected areas

July 02, 2024


Bottom trawling is an industrial fishing technique that drags heavy metal nets along the sea floor, indiscriminately capturing marine life and devastating habitats. Bottom trawling captures everything in its path: corals, sea grasses and more. This destructive fishing practice takes place in most marine protected areas (MPAs) in the UK, which are supposed to be sanctuaries for wildlife and support local livelihoods and well-being. When bottom trawling is not banned, the once vibrant seafloor is left barren and recovery can take decades. 

In 2023, UK offshore MPAs were subjected to more than 33,000 hours of suspected bottom trawling, which is around four years of continuous trawling. According to a poll, eight in 10 adults in the UK (81%) think bottom-trawl fishing should be banned in marine protected areas. At the same time, Sweden and Greece are the first countries in the EU to declare a ban on bottom trawling.  

Blue Marine has been working to end bottom trawling in marine protected areas for the last decade. Our latest campaign, #SeasTheDay, highlights ten asks for the ocean, where banning bottom trawling in MPAs in one of these important goals that need to be achieved. The next administration needs to make a significant step forward in the protection of our domestic seas if we are to see a recovery for both marine life and local inshore British fisheries. Banning bottom trawling is a significant step in this direction. 


Photograph by: Howard Wood/COAST

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