For some people, fishing is a fun activity that can be done to spend the weekend while camping out. For some other people, fishing is a job that provides just enough support to make ends meet. But for some others, fishing is a way to earn money by destroying nature. That’s why, the boulders are needed.
We will not talk about the first two of those mentioned above, but we are going to talk intensively about the latter one. First thing first, can you imagine how fishing that can be a fun activity and cannot provide plenty of support to make ends meet become a destructive gold mine?
The answer is, the number of fish harvested has to be plenty. But we thing ‘plenty’ is not the right word to describe how these people harvest fish from the ocean using bottom trawler. Enormous is the more suitable word, and that’s why Greenpeace decided to throw boulders into the ocean.
What’s the connection between throwing boulders into the ocean and how these people harvest marine resources? Let us inform you something dark from our fishing industry.
The Not A Dream Job
Indonesia is known as a maritime country, because the whole country is an archipelago. But being a maritime country and an archipelago apparently doesn’t mean that fishermen living in the country is going to live a very prosperous life.
In fact, the opposite happens since as many as 11.34% of people live from fishery in Indonesia are classified as poor. That’s a lot higher than the percentage of people working in other sectors, such as waste sorting (9.62%), building construction (9.86%), or restaurant service (5.56%).
It makes the job lose its popularity among younger generation, and apparently this is a global trend that happens all around the world. Data collected by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) showed that averagely, the number of people who want to work as fishers in 2020s fell around one third compared to data collected in 2010s.
Not only having low income, but apparently a fisherman’s life is not preferable by many youngsters nowadays because of other factors. The chance to get struck by extreme weather in the middle of the ocean, and having to be far away from loved ones for a long time also support this decline.
Even though technology is far more advanced nowadays, but those factors determine the likability of this job a lot. But how if those people know that there is a way to make fishing a short time job with high earning, but at the cost of our nature? The practice is called bottom trawling, and it has been done by a lot of illegal fishermen.
What is bottom trawling, and why is it destructive for the nature? Here we will give you a brief explanation. The fishing practice is a self-explanatory practice. It is done by dragging along huge trawl along sea floor to catch any living organism it passes through.
Because of this mercilessness, this is the most effective fishing method nowadays. But as you can imagine how ruthless the practice is, the destructive effect of bottom trawling is far beyond any other fishing methods also.
Its effectiveness can give the result of up to 30 million tons of fish per year. That’s so far away from ordinary or other fishing methods can collect in years or even decades. But the fact that what’s counted is only the fish, hides something dark.
Along with the millions of tons of edible fish collected, apparently it also catches other sea creatures like turtles, younger fishes, even cetaceans. Because those creatures cannot be sold for profit, the bycatches are of ten thrown away back into the ocean.
Do you think it seems good for them? imagine it this way: during the catching process, they are dragged for kilometers in a compacted pack by the trawl. They are then being lifted into the ship, outside of water, then thrown away from meters above sea level. Of course, they will find it torturing.
Such kind of cruelty is not the only reason why bottom trawling is opposed by many environmentalists. Since the trawl is dragged along the sea bed, it means it would also ‘touch’ the coral reefs population along the way and bulldoze it.
What’s surprising about this destructive fishing practice is, it is not illegal in many countries including United Kingdom. Greenpeace U.K. campaigners threw away huge boulders into the ocean to stop supertrawlers (ships with the biggest trawl and most destructive ones) from operating in the area.
“Activists onboard the Esperanza stopped a supertrawler from fishing in a UK Marine Protected Area. We’ve taken action because #GeorgeEustice @DefraGovUK are failing to protect these important marine areas from #destructivefishing,” as tweeted by Greenpeace U.K.
The concept is, with the presence of those boulders, trawlers passing it through will be ripped off. This will cause a huge loss for the crew, thus the supertrawlers would prefer to just avoid harvesting fish in areas where the boulders exist.
This way, Greenpeace can protect the underwater ecosystem effectively from trawlers without using too sophisticated or complicated methods, and most importantly it is an eco-friendly one. The boulders can also be used as a base for corals and seaweeds to grow later on.
What Boulders Cannot Stop
Of course, the steps taken by Greenpeace U.K. caused a controversy. As mentioned above, supertrawlers are not illegal in United Kingdom, even though the place where they operate is protected area including Offshore Brighton.
But on the other hand, throwing massive boulders into the ocean, especially protected area, can be considered as littering. It doesn’t matter even though the action has been supported by celebrities such as Thandie Newton, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Paloma Faith, Jarvis Cocker and Ranulph Fiennes.
It shows that even though the boulders can prevent supertrawlers trawling in the area, but it cannot stop the greed and injustice. For your information, only two of the country’s protected areas are properly protected, Greenpeace stated.
“All of the UK’s protected areas need real protection, not just a handful. This government is supposed to be showing global leadership on ocean conservation and fighting for 30 per cent of the world’s oceans to be protected, but it can’t even properly protect 30 per cent of our own waters,” said Greenpeace oceans campaigner, Chris Thorne.