Gear Types


Trawls are large nets in the shape of a bag towed behind fishing vessels that scoop up any fish and wildlife in its path.

Trawl nets can be massive. The largest industrial trawlers can collect thousands of tons in a single tow, often towing nets for hours. Mid-water trawls are dragged well above the ocean floor and are often used to fish for schooling fishes such as mackerel and pollock. Bottom trawls are dragged on the sea floor and target demersal fish (e.g., cod or flounder), shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans living on the bottom. However, bottom trawls can also destroy seafloor habitat such as seagrasses, coral reefs, and kelp forests, and stir up sediment.

ETP Impacts and Fishery Recommendations