December 12, 2010
Bottom trawling -also known as Benthic trawling- is a fishing method that involves dragging trawl nets along the sea floor. The fishing method is a highly non-selective one and comes with a large amount of bycatch and destruction in the trawled path. Bottom trawling activities are performed world wide in coastal and deep waters.
Along the coasts of The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark there lays a shallow coastal sea -with associated wetlands and islands- extremely rich with all types of important sea (it serves as a spawning and nursing grounds for fish) and bird (millions of migratory birds use the mud flats to feed on) life. Large parts of the sea consist of tidal mudflats. The intertidal area is sea during high-tide and dryish land during low-tide.
For decades there have been bottom trawling and dredging activities on the Dutch part of the area. As of July 1, 2004 mechanical cockle fisheries have been banned in order to preserve the cockles (and the rich bottom) for the millions of birds. However, some fisheries on mussels (mariculture) and shrimp are still taking place.
Here are two low-tide imageres showing the marks / scarves left by various trawling activities. These take years to disappear from visual sight and even longer for the benthic situation to return to the pre-trawling situation.
Learn more HERE