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Friday, June 28 • 10:15 - 11:45
Containing the trawl industry: global experiences compared

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Chaired by: Bavinck, J.M.

Global experiences in managing trawl fisheries – Lessons for sustainable fisheries management
Tara Lawrence , Martin van der Knaap & Maarten Bavinck

Trawl fisheries contribute nearly a quarter of the world’s fish catch, and are considered to be one of the most lucrative industries due to the high values their catches represent. However, the negative ecological and socioeconomic impacts of trawling have long been established, with a variety of institutional regulations that attempt to address issues of overfishing, over-capacity, marine bycatch and discards, and social externalities at international, national, regional and local levels. This paper presents a history of the trawling industry in various parts of the world, and a review of commonly suggested management mechanisms that include ecosystem based management, spatial planning and area based management, fishing gear, capacity and effort management, rights based management, and catch quota systems. It also looks into social and political mobilizations that have occurred against trawling and the way these have influenced first the regulatory environment and eventually the trawl industry itself. Experiences from developed nations like Australia and the US prove to be vastly different from developing or third world countries from South East Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Social conflict over shifting technologies obscure environmental degradation due to trawl fishing - cases from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra
Divya Karnad & Maarten Bavinck

A global shift in perceptions of policy makers now blames industrial fishing for overexploitation (e.g. FAO, 2015). Evidence exists to suggest that certain types of trawl fishing like bottom-scraping otter and beam trawls are overwhelmingly responsible for marine ecosystem degradation (Flaherty and Karnjanakesorn, 1995; Thrush et al. 2002; Kaiser et al., 2002). Yet, several countries, like India, have chosen bottom trawling as the means to develop their fisheries, and haven’t backed away from this technology even in the face of this scientific evidence of degradation. In India, trawl vessels have become so much a part of the scenery that they are not often part of current debates on fishing policy and transformations to sustainability. Instead fingers are being pointed towards more recent technological interventions such as the use of the purse seine or the ring seine as the source of contention. This paper investigates how the trawl fishery has come to be transformed from a top-down, externally imposed technological intervention that has negative impacts on both ecology and socio-economics, to a traditional, historical form of fishing whose continuity is beyond question. The repercussions of such a transformation have ripple effects on the unity of the fishing community, the types of social and economic behaviour that are considered acceptable, the identities of fisherfolk and their sense of community, as well as on the fish resources themselves. For fishermen to choose to ignore the ecological arguments against trawling, and unite with trawlers against purse or ring seines has very particular and important fallouts.

Containing the trawl industry: global experiences compared
Martin van der Knaap & Maarten Bavinck
FAO & University of Amsterdam


Although trawling was already practiced in the pre-industrial era, it has boomed with the advent of engine power, synthetic twines and refrigeration. Trawling has become a factor of importance, not only in the Global North but in the Global South as well. But its many disadvantages – environmental as well as social – too have emerged, with trawl fishers achieving the reputation of ‘roving bandits’, threatening the livelihoods of coastal fishers and the quality of seabeds and fish stocks alike. Governments and other societal parties have tried to contain the negative effects of the trawling industry in various ways and to various effects. This panel compares various attempts at containment, ranging from total closure to regulation and monitoring. It also enquiries into reasons for the failure of containment efforts and into their implications for future policy.



Friday June 28, 2019 10:15 - 11:45
REC A2.08 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam