What’s the Problem with Trawling?

Commercial trawling has a devastating effect on biodiversity in areas where it has been used. Large commercial trawlers have been historically decimating both marine environments and significantly decreasing stock levels to a level at which they are unable to recuperate. The impact on communities sitting on the seafloor, known as benthic communities is devastating, the primary culprit being drag trawlers with beams of up to 12 meters, and several beams often deployed at the same time. This lesson looks at the effect of commercial trawling on both fish stocks and benthic community biodiversity. Students will understand relative sizes and impacts of large-scale fishing operations, and devise a plan to reduce the impacts of trawling. Students perform percentage calculations and analyze graphs.