Fishing's Future Depends on the Seafloor
Gears that drag across the seafloor, like trawls and dredges, can destroy delicate habitats that provide shelter, food and breeding grounds for fish and other species. In heavily trawled areas, it's the equivalent of clear-cutting a forest.
The Fishing Method Matters
Among different fishing gear, bottom trawling and dredging are top offenders. In 2003, California replaced spot prawn trawls with traps, reducing seafloor damage and helping the state's rockfish population recover. In general, traps and pots cause less seafloor damage and catch fewer non-targeted species than other types of fishing gear that contact the seafloor.
Our Ocean Never Gets a Rest
In Alaskan waters alone, bottom trawls removed over one million pounds of deep water corals and sponges annually from the seafloor between 1997 and 1999. In many areas, marine life and seafloor communities have no chance to recover—parts of the North Sea off Denmark have been trawled up to 400 times a year!
What You Can Do
Our printable guides are broken down by region so you can find ocean-friendly seafood wherever you live or travel. Choose from the green "Best Choice" column. Otherwise, try a yellow "Good Alternative."