2012-03-01 / News

House passes bill to ban pair trawling

The House of Representatives recently passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Teresa Tanzi to ban pair trawling in Rhode Island waters next year.

The practice, which involves two fishing vessels dragging a single enormous net between them, is banned or limited by nearby states and has been attracting outof state vessels that use up the region’s species quota, and then land and process the fish in other states.

Pair trawling is an effective means of capturing entire schools of fish, because working together the two boats can herd entire schools into the net. However, the method also has a high bycatch rate and also ensnares lobster traps, fixed fishing equipment and even smaller vessels that get in the way.

Tanzi, whose district includes the port of Galilee, submitted the bill after speaking to many in the fishing industry, whose members argued that the practice is causing a large share of the region’s herring to go to the larger, out-of-state operations that come to the state to take advantage of the seasonal swell of herring, but also because it is one of the few places where pair trawling is allowed.

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