Survey shows support for ban on harmful fishing methods
More than two-thirds of people support banning harmful fishing methods in protected areas of the sea, according to a poll.
The results come as environmentalists warn that fishing like bottom trawling – in which a weighted net is pulled along the seabed to catch fish – risks releasing millions of tonnes of carbon stored in the seabed in the protected areas.
Data from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) estimates that UK marine protected areas in continental shelf waters store around 26.5 million tonnes of carbon.
Industrial fishing methods such as bottom trawling risk releasing this “blue carbon” by disrupting the seabed where it would otherwise be stored, adding to the climate crisis rather than helping to combat it, environmentalists say.
Bottom trawlers operate in 98% of the UK’s marine protected areas, designated to protect marine wildlife and habitats that can be damaged by the fishing process, MCS said.
A poll commissioned by Greenpeace UK suggests public support for banning bottom trawling in UK marine protected areas.
YouGov’s survey of 1,883 people found that 71% of those polled did not believe bottom trawling should be allowed in protected areas of the sea, and 69% supported a ban there.