Greenpeace Thwarts Bottom Trawlers Drops Boulders Onto Seabed
Barbara McPherson | August 14, 2009 at 09:49 amby
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Greenpeace is making a move to thwart bottom trawlers fishing in a marine protected area by dropping granite boulders onto the seabed.
Using a specially equipped barge, our team is placing a number of large boulders on the seafloor to act as obstacles stopping fishermen from ploughing up the rare habitats of maerl beds and bubble reefs. Bubble reefs (underwater structures created by gas seepage) are amazing habitats of great scientific interest that have only recently been discovered in Sweden. But despite the existence of these vulnerable habitats bottom trawling, one of most destructive forms of fishing, is common throughout the area.
Bottom trawlers fish in shallow coastal waters in many areas around the world. Their method of fishing is destructive to the sea floor as they weight their nets, sometimes using large rollers, and drag the nets across the sea floor crushing structures and scaring up the fish. Bottom trawlers have been compared to strip mining the oceans. Many fish are not commercially valuable or by-catch and thrown back into the ocean either dead or dying. The sea floor is left a virtual desert with habitat destroyed.
Bottom trawlers drag giant weighted nets along the ocean floor, ripping up or scooping out whatever they encounter, including ancient coral forests, gardens of anemones and entire fields of sea sponges. Unwanted and undersized fish hauled up by bottom trawlers are thrown back dead or dying -- in some areas, as many as four pounds of fish are discarded for every one pound brought to market.