Bottom-trawling repeatedly plows up the seafloor over large areas of the ocean said Mr. Amos. Until recently, the impact was basically hidden from view. But new tools especially Internet-based image sites, like Google Earth allow everyone to see for themselves whats happening. In shallow waters with muddy bottoms, trawlers leave long, persistent trails of sediment in their wake.
To see a gallery of satellite images, and take a Google Earth virtual tour of trawl-caused sediment plumes, go to www.skytruth.org and navigate to the Trawling Impacts image gallery.
Susanna Fuller studies impacts of trawling on sponges in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Seafloor animals such as glass sponges are particularly vulnerable to bottom trawling, said Ms. Fuller, a graduate student of Professor Ransom Myers. Dr. Myers, who died last year, had published a series of papers showing that overfishing has eliminated 90 percent of the worlds large predatory fishes and is devastating marine ecosystems.
What is amazing is the level of damage these types of animals have suffered, after the cod fishery in Canada was closed. We immediately started trawling deeper with no restrictions, and continue to do so, she said. There are ways to catch fish that are less harmful to the worlds vanishing marine life. We need to start protecting the seafloor by using fishing gear, besides bottom trawls, especially in the deep sea. Its the only thing left, she said.
For years marine scientists have been telling the world that fishing has harmed marine biodiversity more than anything else, said Dr. Norse. And its clear that trawling causes more damage to marine ecosystems than any other kind of fishing. Now, as the threats of ocean acidification and melting sea ice are adding insult to injury, we have to reduce harm from trawling t
|Contact: Elliott Norse|