WPY 2010

Photograph Details

Runner-up 2010

Wildlife Photojournalist Award

Brian Skerry, United States of America

Scraping the bottom

This is how shrimps (prawns) are caught off La Paz in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Whether a trawl net is small, like this one, or large, the design is similar worldwide: two steel doors help keep open the maw of the net as a boat drags it along. Such a design is hugely effective, catching shrimps but also everything else in its path. As it drags along the bottom, it also destroys whole communities, including the corals and sponges that provide habitat for so many other animals and which may take years to grow back.

Technical specification

Nikon D2X + 12-24mm lens; 1/60 sec at f9; ISO 200.


Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry, United States of America

Brian Skerry is an award-winning photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine producing stories that both celebrate the ocean and shed light on environmental threats. His year round schedule finds him working in widely ranging ecosystems, from tropical coral reefs to diving beneath polar ice. Brian also frequently speaks to audiences worldwide having presented lectures at venues such as Royal Geographical Society in London, The National Press Club in Washington, DC, TED Talks and the Sydney Opera House. Brian’s has also worked on assignment for or had work featured in magazines such as BBC Wildlife, Smithsonian, GEO, Men’s Journal and Audubon. His latest monograph, Ocean Soul, features 160-photographs and stories about his life in the field.

  • Feast of the ancient mariner
  • Last of the tuna
  • The commodity market
  • Scraping the bottom
  • Waste products
  • The sacrifice
  • Creative dining
  • Dolphin downtime
  • Tears of blood