France’s fisheries minister, Annick Girardin, has shared shock over the shedding of over 100,000 dead fish carcasses into the ocean by a Dutch-owned trawler.
The incident was blamed on accidental damage to the trawler’s net, though activists have disputed this, raising the illegality of expelling so many fish, and Sea Shepherd France believe it could be a discharge of bycatch – dumping types of fish that the vessel does not want to process – which is banned under EU law.
Overfishing and bycatch are two of the main issues that global ocean health currently faces. Overfishing is when more fish are caught than are being replenished, and bycatch is the capturing of wildlife that the fishermen didn’t deliberately set out to catch (which can include dolphins, turtles, octopus and shark species). Both have a negative impact on marine ecosystems, as food chains and biodiversity are increasingly disrupted.
Trawling also disrupts the seabed, something that was explored by Planetary in an earlier article here.
You can learn more about the threats Life Below Water faces on our SDG 14 learning page!