Opinion: Deep sea fishing is ‘oceanocide’

Glowing Sucker Octopus – Up to 50 cm long, light passes through the
internal organs of these deep sea-dwelling octopi
giving them a diaphanous, luminous appearance.
Photo Credit: Claire Nouvain

By Claire Nouvian
CNN, September 13 2010
Fewer than 300 boats in the world are destroying the deep sea, the largest reservoir of biodiversity on Earth.
They are wiping off the map deepwater coral reefs and sponge beds thousands of years old as they chase their lucrative quarry: a few highly priced fish, known to be extremely vulnerable to over-fishing because they are long-lived, slow-growing and late at reproducing.
The entirety of the deep-sea catch, without exception, is sold to rich industrialized countries that certainly don’t need those fish. And deep-sea bottom trawling continues despite a scientific consensus that emphasizes how utterly unsustainable and destructive this fishing practice is.
In blatant ignorance of science and oblivious to common sense, bottom trawling — or “bulldozing,” as it should be called — goes on with the complicity of our governments and our own support.
Large subsidies are paid to trawling fleets with our tax money. Every one of us is thus paying for industrial-scale ships to go out and pillage our planet’s last pristine wilderness, contributing to an unprecedented “oceanocide”, the largest and fastest ecological crime of all time.
The deep ocean is home to a diversity of animals beyond anything our brain can handle, comprising millions of new species yet to be discovered.
Wherever deep-sea trawlers pass, they remove 98 to 100 percent of what’s on the seafloor: sponges and corals, of course, but also all sorts of animals.
Uprooting 4,000-year old corals with trawl-nets and dumping them off the side of the ship as ocean waste is akin to exhuming Egyptian mummies and disposing of them as trash.
Fish are typically the last wild items on our dinner menu, along with a few mushroom species. Harvesting wild resources means being in tune with what nature can give, as opposed to what we have planned to get from it.
So what can the deep sea give us?


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