In December 2010, the Belizean government announced a ban on all forms of trawling in the country's waters. Oceana in Belize played a crucial role in the decision, collaborating with Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration to negotiate the buy-out of the two shrimp trawlers.
Trawls are one of the most destructive forms of fishing gear in the world. Shrimp trawls are notorious for the amount of bycatch, or untargeted catch, they haul in. Thousands of sea turtles, marine mammals and untargeted fish are caught in shrimp trawlers around the world every year. Meanwhile, bottom trawlers’ weighted nets effectively clear-cut the ocean floor with every pass, destroying sensitive corals and anything else in their way.
With this ban, which goes into effect December 31st, 2010, Belize has become one of the first countries in the world to institute a complete and permanent ban on trawling in all its waters.
Oceana is also working in North America, South America and Europe to limit bottom trawling.