The Beacon

Blog Tags: Industrial Fishing

Bottom Trawling Threatens Deep Sea Ecosystems, Studies Say

Cod trapped in a trawler net

Cod trapped on the net of an Estonian trawler in the port of Wladyslawowo, Southern Baltic Proper, Poland. (Photo: Oceana / LX)

Cod, flounder, and halibut make delicious seafood, but they’re often not sustainably harvested. In fact, they’re likely caught with one of the most destructive types of fishing gear: bottom trawls. These large, heavy nets are dragged across large areas of seafloor, and inevitably clear-cut everything in their path.

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Arctic Protections Finalized

In a definitive victory for the Arctic, the government released final regulations protecting almost 200,000 square miles of U.S. Arctic waters from industrial fishing.

The new regulations, which close all U.S. waters north of Alaska’s Bering Strait to commercial fishing, will be effective starting December 3, 2009. The closure will allow for more time to assess the health of Arctic ocean ecosystems and the potential impacts of large-scale fishing given the impacts the Arctic is already facing from climate change and ocean acidification.

And don't forget the looming threat of offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. Last month the government approved a plan for drilling in the Beaufort Sea next summer, and a similar plan for the Chukchi Sea is currently under review with a decision expected this month. 

Conservationists, scientists, and local communities agree that the science-based precautionary approach we have achieved with industiral fishing should be replicated with oil, especially given the higher risks of oil spills in the Arctic and the inability to contain, control or clean up an accident in the icy waters of the Arctic.

Congratulations to everyone who helped make this happen!

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