ASIA-PACIFIC nations account for half of all global marine capture fishery production, with Indonesia ranking fifth worldwide (5.1 per cent) and Malaysia 16th (1.5 per cent). This industry provides livelihoods and food for people, and feed for the region’s growing aquaculture sector.
With each passing year, fishing in Malaysia gets more challenging due to dwindling marine life. Regionally, the fisheries industry is characterised by growing problems — overfishing, overcapacity, poor profitability, inadequate governance and more.
And bottom trawling, considered a more “effective” way of maximising yield, has become a seriously harmful dimension of this industry. Fishing boats drag huge nets along the seafloor, scooping up anything in their path. The yield is large but many non-targeted species, such as turtles, sharks and dolphins, are also caught up in the process.
Bottom trawling not only needlessly kills or harms these ecologically important marine animals, including endangered species, it can do irreversible damage to the ecosystems and habitats. According to the United Nations, a shocking 95 per cent of damage to seamount ecosystems worldwide is caused by deep-sea bottom trawling.