In 1998, Dr. Les Watling and I focused world attention on an almost-overlooked threat to the oceans: bottom trawling. We described how trawlers were plowing the seafloor and killing enormous amounts of marine life, comparing that destruction to clearcutting native forests.
Since then, we've learned much more about the seafloor and effects of trawling, but we didn't realize how much trawling changes and alters the entire shape of the ocean bottom. Now, thanks to a new paper by geologists from Spain, we understand even more about trawling's impacts.
|Trawled seafloor reduced to silt and mud|
Trawlermen were irate because Dr. Watling and I compared bottom trawling to forest clearcutting. Dr. Puig's recent study shows how trawled bottoms are now more like farmers' fields or suburban lawns than forests. And trawling really does remove the corals, sponges and other seafloor animals that create structure fishes and other animals need.
Your donations support Marine Conservation Institute's science and advocacy efforts to protect deep sea corals and the species that depend on them from the world's most destructive fishing practice. I hope you'll help us.
Elliott A. Norse, Ph.D.