Bottom trawling for species such as shrimp exacts a terrible toll on marine life. Each year, trawlers drag an area of seabed twice the size of the continental United States, catching millions of seahorses and countless other small fishes. For every kilogram of shrimp on our plates, an average of 10 kilograms of other marine life is unintentionally caught. They are dumped overboard dead or dying or turned into fishmeal. Put in another context, the total area of seabed trawled each year is nearly 150 times the area of forest that is clearcut annually around the world. Trawlers sweep large nets along the ocean bottom, catching commodity species but also everything else in their path, tearing up the seafloor and delicate marine ecosystems in the process.
Sustainable fisheries means food security
Nearly three billion people depend on the sea as a source of food and medicine and 90% of all economic activity in our oceans takes place in coastal areas. Overfishing and harmful fishing practices such as trawling and the use of illegal fishing gear put tremendous pressure on fish populations, making their recovery increasingly difficult. We must adopt sustainable fishing practices to ensure food security for our generation and generations to come.
Project Seahorse: Promoting sustainable fishing practices
Using biological and socio-economic knowledge and integrating research efforts with marine management, Project Seahorse promotes sustainable fishing practices that balance their impact on both ecosystems and human coastal communities. We develop management briefings to help governments to use their marine resources effectively and sustainably, and we work with small-scale fishers to protect fish populations and ecosystems and improve food security.