IMAT 2017 Q11 [Argument | Trawling]

Next week the European Parliament will vote on whether to ban trawling, a method of fishing that involves pulling large fishing nets behind boats. The fishing industry is opposed to a ban and has argued strongly against it. Trawling is not as damaging to ecosystems as environmentalists claim. Trawling the seabed doesn’t always create ‘dead zones’ in the ocean. It can boost fish numbers, since the species that are more resistant to the effects of trawling can proliferate. So trawling on flat sandy beds in shallow areas can benefit marine life.

Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the above argument?

A. Trawling creates new habitats by making parts of the sea more habitable.

B. Trawling in deep waters is expensive and an ineffective use of fishing resources.

C. Trawling in shallow waters can damage the bottom of fishermen’s boats.

D. Trawling in shallow waters can alter the ecology in beneficial ways.

E. Trawling nets have a destructive impact on many endangered species.

Steps:

  • Find the Argument
  • Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
  • Eliminate easy options
  • These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Strengthen instead of weakening)
  • Determine which answer strengthens or weakens the argument THE MOST

The most important part of solving this question comes from identifying what side of the argument the author is supported. The author has only provided reasons for why trawling is not actually as bad as we think it is. To weaken the argument, all we have to do is prove that it is actually damaging.

A. Trawling creates new habitats by making parts of the sea more habitable.

This strengthens the argument because it supports the idea of trawling can actually be somewhat beneficial. We are trying to weaken the argument so A is incorrect.

B. Trawling in deep waters is expensive and an ineffective use of fishing resources.

This is a negative aspect of trawling but it is not the focus of the argument: the effect of trawling on ocean life. This is the reason why they want to ban trawling, not for costs but for its harm. Therefore B is incorrect as it touches on cost and not effects on the ecosystem.

C. Trawling in shallow waters can damage the bottom of fishermen’s boats.

This is wrong for the same reason as B, although they are negatives of trawling, they do not talk about the impact on the ocean ecosystem, therefore C is also incorrect.

D. Trawling in shallow waters can alter the ecology in beneficial ways.

This is wrong for the same reason as A; it strengthens the argument instead of weakening it. Therefore D is incorrect.

E. Trawling nets have a destructive impact on many endangered species.

This is weakening the argument because it tells us of the effects of trawling on the ocean’s ecosystem. It is important because, as stated in the text, some fish may not be directly affected by trawling, but this answer choice tells us that there can be whole chain consequences as trawling could erradicate at risk species. Therefore E is correct.