Trawling Scars Ocean Floors

'Most destructive' common fishing method destroys underwater ecosystems
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2008 2:22 PM CST
A view of fishes seized 27 December 2007 at the port of Abidjan, from two Chinese ships, 'Far East I' and 'Far East II', which were intercepted using 'bottom trawling,' disregarding the national fishing...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Scientists can now see the destruction caused to the ocean floor by bottom trawling in satellite photos, LiveScience reports. The pictures show huge plumes kicked up from the ocean's bottom as fishing nets dragged along the floor wreak havoc on undersea ecosystems. "Bottom trawling is the most destructive of any actions that humans conduct in the ocean," one zoologist says.

"Each year, worldwide, bottom trawlers drag an area equivalent to twice the lower 48 states," says the scientist. The fishing method has become more common as stocks closer to shore have been devastated by overfishing, forcing fishermen to look deeper and farther afield for their quarry. Restrictions against bottom trawling are gradually increasing in response to the environmental damage.