Irish Wildlife Trust calls on Minister Michael Creed to end destructive ‘pair-trawling’ in coastal waters
The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) is once again receiving reports from the south-west that destructive ‘pair trawling’ is underway in shallow bays and inlets. Pair-trawling is the practice whereby two boats drag a single net, effectively sieving all marine life from the water column. This type of fishing, which typically involves the use of a small mesh, targets small fish, particularly sprat. Sprat may be small but are high in energy and gather in large shoals. While very little is known about the biology or population size of the sprat, it is well known that these small fish are food for much of the marine ecosystem – including whales and dolphins, seals, seabirds and larger fish. Keeping sprat in the water is essential if we are to protect the wider health of our seas.
Pair trawling in Irish Coastal Waters
IWT Campaigns Officer Pádraic Fogarty says “pair trawling is just one example of destructive fishing practices that are allowed in Irish waters. If we are serious about protecting the marine environment it should be banned outright in coastal areas. It’s mad that such damaging practices are not only allowed but are totally unregulated.”
Pair-trawling is known to have taken place in the mouth of the River Shannon (Counties Clare and Limerick) and Kenmare Bay (Co. Kerry), both so-called Special Areas of Conservation. The IWT is calling on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed to ban the practice. Due to the harmful environmental impacts pair trawling has been banned in UK waters since 2005.