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Save our Oceans and Ban Bottom Trawling

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

Bottom trawling leaves bycatch animals dead and destroys critical marine habitats. Save our oceans from this destruction!


Bottom trawling is a method of fishing that uses a net pulled throughout the lower layers of the ocean via wires connected to the boat, as well as weights dragged along the ocean floor connected to both the net and the boat1.

This type of fishing ends up with a lot of bycatch, fish and other creatures that are not profitable, and leaves many fish dead or severely injured.

The weights used in bottom trawling can permanently destroy entire seafloor habitats. Centuries-old coral beds, which many types of species rely on for food and shelter, can be wiped out in an instant. Bottom trawling kills vast numbers of corals, sponges, fishes and other animals, and satellite images show that spreading clouds of mud remain suspended in the sea long after the trawler has passed2.

Bottom trawling has been a significant contributor to the fact that 90% of the surfaces where coral used to grow in waters off Southeast Australia are now bare rock3.

Massive "supertrawlers" were banned in 2014 off the west and south coasts of Australia, but other large trawling ships are still being allowed to operate4. In 2016 in Europe, bottom trawling was banned in waters deeper than 800 meters5. In the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has imposed a permanent ban on bottom trawling in 150,000 square miles of federally-controlled waters off the West coast of the United States6.

This is not enough. The world's oceans are still being devastated by trawling where bans are not in place.

We must call for a complete ban on the use of bottom trawling that makes contact with the ocean floor. Sign the petition and ask the U.S. government to prohibit destructive bottom trawling and save our oceans!

More on this issue:

  1. Oceana, "Bottom Trawling."
  2. Cleaner Ocean Foundation, "Bycatch."
  3. Sustainable Fisheries (29 February 2016), "What's the Deal with Trawling in Australian Waters?."
  4. Lissette Victorero, Les Watling, Maria L. Deng Palomares and Claire Nouvian, Frontiers in Marine Science (11 April 2018), "Out of Sight, But Within Reach: A Global History of Bottom-Trawled Deep-Sea Fisheries From >400 m Depth."
  5. Sea Shepherd UK (2022), "Bottom Trawling Banned on the West Coast of the United States."
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The Petition:

To the Administrator of the the Environmental Protection Administration,

Looks at the coasts of Australia for a second and it becomes tragically clear that bottom trawling is a destructive practice. Bottom trawling has been a significant contributor to the fact that 90% of the surfaces where coral used to grow in waters off Southeast Australia are now bare rock.

The weights used in bottom trawling can permanently destroy entire seafloor habitats. Centuries-old coral beds, which many types of species rely on for food and shelter, can be wiped out in an instant.

Bottom trawling kills vast numbers of corals, sponges, fishes and other animals, and satellite images show that spreading clouds of mud remain suspended in the sea long after the trawler has passed.

In the U.S., only 3% of waters are classified as "no-catch" zones. This is leading to dwindling fish populations and devastated marine habitats that may never recover.

The marine life around American coastlines will not last long if destructive bottom trawling practices are not soon stopped. I implore you to put a full ban on bottom trawling that makes contact with the ocean floor, and ensure the safety of our oceans!

Sincerely,

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Signatures: