Commercial Fishing And Habitat Destruction

When I was sixteen I did some work experience on a fishing trawler. It was strong masculine work going to sea to face the elements. To a young kid it was a dream - no more boring classrooms. The experience was excellent and exciting ,the danger made you feel alive. Everyone working together to get the catch, we were fishing for prawns but fish were a large part of the catch. The one memory I do have is sorting the catch on deck.

I can remember the vest array of marine life, everything from prawns to sharks and all sorts of creature inbetween. What shocked me was the senseless waste, dead marine life just thrown back overboard, no good for the market. I felt uneasy at this part of my experience.

I felt it was somehow not right, even as a kid out of school, to kill and waste. In latter years, I learned that these trawling methods not only kill and wasted marine life but destroyed habitat that supports future fish life.

Many commercial fishing methods are simply environmental vandalism. Fishing trawlers systematically cover large areas of marine rich sea floors. Wiping out marine eco systems and destroying food chains. The trawling of shallow or deep water covers; sand, mud, rock, rubble, sea grass, sponge beds and deep-sea coral.

Prawn trawlers use chains which run along the seabed and release the prawns out of the substrate and into the net. Rollers lift the ground tackle off the bottom. Rollers lift the nets over rocky or rough bottoms. It much like land clearing with massive chains.

The practice of trawling is also responsible for the decline of several over fished species including Orange Roughy, Eastern Gemfish, Redfish, Silver Trevally and several deepwater Sharks. Not to mention the by catch is often half the weight of the catch. The by catch is made up of everything from crabs to turtles and unwanted fish species.

Many scientists believe that this method of fishing is unsustainable and destroys eco systems.