BC OCEAN CONSERVATION DRAGGING BEHIND
CPAWS Calls For Urgent Adoption Of Minimum Standards To Prohibit Bottom Trawling In Marine Protected Areas
Today, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released The MPA Monitor, to assess the quality of Canada’s marine protected areas (MPAs). British Columbians are proud of the coast’s natural beauty and bounty. However, we are shocked and disappointed to find that the MPAs in BC scored quite poorly: over 60% of BC MPA waters do not have the strong, high-quality protections in place that support thriving ocean life and healthy communities, mainly due to destructive bottom trawling.
Bottom trawling causes large amounts of bycatch as everything that happens to be in the way gets swept up in the net, including unwanted and endangered marine species that should not be caught. Corals and sponges and other habitat forming wildlife are destroyed as the heavy net is dragged on the seafloor. Bottom trawling also causes marine life to choke by kicking up large clouds of sediment as the net moves.
We now need the federal government to implement their 2019 minimum protection standards for MPAs that would prohibit bottom trawling, as well as oil and gas, mining, and dumping. This would provide a critical basic level of protection for all of BC’s MPAs.
You can also explore Canada’s MPAs through this interactive dashboard.
For this report, CPAWS used the recently published MPA Guide – a standardized assessment tool that evaluates the protection level of MPAs based on what activities are allowed within the MPA – to evaluate BC’s MPAs.
Bottom trawling causes large amounts of bycatch and habitat destruction as everything that happens to be in the way gets swept up in the net, The Narwhal.
Hundreds of millions of pounds of untargeted and unwanted fish and other marine animals are killed and wasted, including endangered species such as bocaccio rockfish, CBC News.
Sediment clouds caused by bottom trawling from as far away as 6km can cause glass sponge reefs to “choke” and stop filtering ocean water, study.