Belize Bans Bottom Trawling in All Its Waters


Satellite image of bottom trawlers off Louisiana Coast; photo via Wikimedia Commons

In a great victory on the path to more sustainable fishing, Oceana has announced Belize banned all forms of bottom trawling in its country waters. Effective December 31, 2010, the incredibly destructive fishing practice will be no more for Belize, helping to preserve its reef system and maintain the World Heritage Site status of its barrier reef system.Bottom trawling is when boats drag a fishing net along the sea floor, bringing up anything in its path, including tons of bycatch -- plants and animals that are tossed, dead or mangled, back into the sea -- and leaving behind a trail of complete ruin.

A small handful of countries have banned it to some degree thus far, or at least made movements toward banning it. However, it's still a common practice. But no longer in Belize, which has become one of the first countries to end trawling completely in all its waters.

Oceana reports, "The call to ban bottom trawling had been made some years ago but lacked the political will, as the government was faced with the reality of what to do with the existing trawlers owned and operated by the Northern Fishermen Cooperative Association (NFC). Oceana in Belize collaborated with the government in resolving this concern by negotiating the buyout of the two shrimp trawlers."

With hope and luck, the move will extend outward and other countries will enact bans on bottom trawling.

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Tags: Conservation | Fishing | Oceans