Gates Scholar on changing impact of trawl fishing
A paper by Aaron Lobo and colleagues is published in this month’s issue of Conservation Letters. It describes how trawl fishing is surviving through the sale of previously unusable catch.
Bycatch (low-value fish that are caught in large, indiscriminate nets) used to be discarded, but is now sold for local consumption, and to fill the rapidly growing need for poultry-feed. The research team’s work shows that even though the profits from the original target catch have dwindled, the development of new markets for bycatch means that trawlers can still operate profitably, albeit barely.
Trawl nets capture anything in their path, and can seriously damage the seabed, so their continued use in certain regions of the world threatens to create an ecological catastrophe and the permanent loss of many livelihoods in those regions.
Futher information can be found on the website of the University’s Department of Zoology.