Is trawl fishing bad for the environment?

Trawl fishing, or dragging, has undergone many changes in the last quarter century. Negative impacts to the environment may include damage to bottom dwelling (benthic) animals and plants, and the waste of animals that are either unmarketable or illegal to retain. However, modern gear, materials, practices and management have gone a long way in reducing the catch of unwanted species and the environmental damage caused by trawl fishing. For example, larger mesh sizes and improved net shapes allow many more fish to escape the trawl before they are brought to the surface, and designs exist specifically to touch the bottom much less than they have in the past. Overall, trawling has benefited strongly in recent years from fishermen and scientists working together, to reduce the negative impacts of fishing, while still providing the market with quality seafood in a responsible and profitable manner.