The WCA has joined the Transform Bottom Trawling coalition and is calling for a globally reduced bottom trawling footprint by 2030 to help protect cetaceans worldwide.
Bottom trawling not only damages seafloor habitats and wildlife, but also contributes to ocean acidification by releasing vast quantities of CO2. Since all parts of marine ecosystems are connected and necessary for ocean health, these environmental impacts alone represent a serious threat to cetaceans.
However, we also know that there are multiple ways in which bottom trawling is directly harming whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Noise from bottom trawling activity has been found to be above levels that are dangerous to cetaceans. This noise pollution causes stress and disturbance, as well as interfering with important behaviours like hunting, navigation and communication.
Another, more recently discovered, threat is bycatch. Although bottom trawling hasn’t previously been associated with a high risk of cetacean bycatch, a 2022 ICES review revealed cases of common dolphin and harbour porpoise bycatch in bottom trawl fisheries across the majority of ICES ecoregions from 2016 onwards.
In light of these concerns, the WCA is joining forces with coastal communities, scientists, policy experts, and other conservation organisations around the world to tackle the issue of bottom trawling and restore our ocean.
As part of the Transform Bottom Trawling coalition, we’re urging States to ban bottom trawling in Marine Protected Areas and prevent any further expansion to new, untrawled areas, unless and until it can be proven that there will be no significant adverse impacts.
The WCA is committed to achieving real change through collaboration. We look forward to working with the other coalition members to protect cetaceans and their ocean homes from this destructive fishing practice.