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.