Bottom trawling harms the ocean—and the climate

Date: April 16, 2021


The destructive effects of ocean-bottom trawling are easy enough to imagine from any basic description of the practice. Heavy nets 100 yards wide, equipped with weighted rollers and steel doors, are dragged across the seafloor to scoop up cod, halibut, flounder, rockfish, shrimp and other deep-dwelling prey.

In the process, corals, sponges, stingrays, turtles and all sorts of other unwanted creatures are also caught—then roughly, often fatally, discarded. The ocean mud is stirred into underwater clouds large enough to see from space, blocking light to plants and disturbing nutrients in the ambient water. Worms and other bottom-dwellers are left homeless and exposed.

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