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 + 16mm lens; 1/125 sec at f9; ISO 100; Subal housing; Sea & Sea YS90 strobes.


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Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry, United States of America

Brian is an award-winning photojournalist specialising in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998, he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic, covering a wide range of subjects and stories. He has published five books and has featured in numerous publications worldwide. He frequently lectures on photography and conservation issues.

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