A socioeconomic analysis  commissioned by Seas At Risk and carried out has revealed that a ban on bottom-contacting gear (bottom trawling and bottom dredging) in Marine Protected Areas would yield net benefits as soon as four years after the ban comes into force. The study highlights that after 13 years of such a ban, there would be €3.41 returned for every €1 spent, with a cumulative net gain equivalent to €8.4 billion over a 20-year period.
Key commercial benefits would include the creation of new leisure activities and more and bigger fish for low-impact fishers. More crucially, a healthy sea and resilient ecosystems would bring many positive community impacts in climate regulation, clean water, carbon sequestration and protection against extreme natural events.
“We are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction. Marine protected areas cannot perform their crucial role to protect marine life if destructive fishing activities such as bottom trawling Is allowed to continue”, says Marc-Philip Buckhout, Policy Officer at Seas At Risk. “Banning bottom-trawling from Marine Protected Areas, would allow us to fight biodiversity loss and enable the ocean to mitigate climate change, with net socioeconomic benefits.”
To conserve fishing resources and protect marine ecosystems, the European Commission is shaping a plan to meet the commitments set out in the Biodiversity Strategy and the European Green Deal. This plan will be crucial to marine protection in the coming years and over the longer term.
“In light of the findings of this report, we appeal to the European Commission to phase-out the destructive fishing practice of bottom-trawling, starting in Marine Protected Areas and along coastal sensitive areas”, says Andrea Ripol, Fisheries Policy Officer at Seas At Risk.