Coalition: BBC’s new Trawlermain series fails to address the issue of sustainable fishing

Filmed on trawlers on the high seas, amidst crashing waves that threaten to sweep away everything on deck, the BBC’s long-running documentary Trawlermen gives viewers an insight into how the crew navigate one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.

However, the new series, Trawlermen: Hunting the Catch, which launched in October, fails to mention “even briefly” the environmental and climate-related challenges or bycatch problems facing the fishing industry, according to the Our Seas coalition of 350 conservation companies. On environmental and fishing organizations.

Our Seas wrote to the BBC’s Director General, Tim Davie, to express concern that the series was “missing the opportunity to explore pressing sustainability issues” in the fishing industry.

The coalition, which includes the Blue Marine Foundation, Sea Shepherd UK and Fauna and Flora International, said the sequence showed decks “wriggling with marine life” brought aboard by trawls, including undersized crabs, dogs and even a blue shark, included. It is classified as a “threatened relative” on the IUCN Red List. A large amount of this by-catch is being dumped into the sea, after it has died, yet the series presents it as an “acceptable by-product of fishing,” the letter said.

He noted that the BBC, along with 11 other broadcasters, signed the Climate Content Pledge at last year’s COP26 summit, acknowledging its “critical responsibility” to address the climate crisis, and pledging to create content that “inspires … audiences to make greener choices”. In a statement, Davey said the move represented a commitment to move “further and faster to engage and inform audiences about the climate challenges we all face.”

Citing a “growing body of evidence” that the sea floor is a massive store of carbon that can be disrupted or damaged by trawling, the coalition said the trawling industry faces an “enormous challenge” because of its carbon footprint.

However, the BBC series Trawlermen: Hunting the Catch fails to explore this topic, suggesting that it was deliberately ignored and that the makers of Trawlermen, which was filmed just a few months after Cop26, did not implement actions within their climate content pledge, ” He Said.

Baharna said she recognized that the BBC’s integrity guidelines required its output “as a whole” to include a breadth of opinion to ensure “no important intellectual thread is left unattended”. However, he questioned whether the BBC was “appropriately reflecting our fishing industry as a whole”.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Trawlmen: Fishing for Fishing is a new observational documentary that follows deep-sea fishermen from across the country as they risk their lives in one of Britain’s most dangerous jobs. The BBC is committed to covering issues around the environment and sustainability across its production, with recent examples Including series such as Frozen Planet II, Our Changing Planet and the Go Green initiative on Radio 2 and One Show, as well as our extensive coverage from Cop27.”

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