Knowledgebase > Trawling


Last updated 14 October 2017
  • One of the most common methods of commercial fishing (Australian Fisheries Management Authority,
  • Types of trawling; bottom trawl (large single net towed by boat along the sea floor), & midwater trawl (nets towed by boat through water column)
  • Sizes of net trawls vary, minimum mesh sizes in place for some fisheries
  • 'Super trawlers' reportedly comparable to the size of Sydney Opera House, or 12 jumbo jets (Animals Australia)
  • Trawling results in large amounts of 'by-catch' (catching species that are not intended to be caught, can include seals, turtles, sharks, juveniles of intended species)
  • Many of these unintended caught species die in nets, or are thrown back in water after surfacing and may die in the process 
  • By-catch estimated as accounting for approximately 40% of overall global catch, approximately 63 billion pounds per year (Oceana, Wasted Catch, 2014)
  • In 2012 Tony Burke (Environment Minister) said he could impose 'tough' conditions on super trawlers due to 'non-target' marine animals, but this still allowed for 10 seals (per day) to be killed as by-catch (Animals Australia)


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