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Ear to the Ground

World Scientists Want to Ban Deep-Sea Fishing

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Posted on Sep 8, 2011
Flickr / LWY (CC-BY)

The Patagonian toothfish, more widely known as Chilean sea bass, has gained popularity in recent years but is one of the species that is being depleted by deep sea fishing.

In a report released this week, marine scientists from around the world said industrial deep-sea fishing should be banned because it takes much longer for those fish to repopulate than species that live closer to shore.

The report said that the unregulated deep seas are “more akin to a watery desert,” where people have concurrently depleted fish populations and destroyed deep-sea corals with invasive equipment.

The fishing industry moved to the high seas after supplies nearer to shore were deemed overfished. Unfortunately for the slow-growing deep-sea fish populations, the move spawned the sudden popularity of certain species—particularly orange roughy and the Patagonian toothfish, more widely known as Chilean sea bass—that is likely to keep up demand for the floundering fish species. —BF

The Washington Post:

Elliott Norse, president of the Marine Conservation Institute and the paper’s lead author, said the world has turned to deep-sea fishing “out of desperation” without realizing fish stocks there take much longer to recover.

“We’re now fishing in the worst places to fish,” Norse said in an interview. “These things don’t come back.”

As vessels use Global Positioning System devices and trawlers, which scrape massive metal plates across the sea bottom, the catch of deep-water species has increased sevenfold between 1960 and 2004, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

“What they’re doing out there is more like mining than fishing,” said Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

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By SarcastiCanuck, September 9, 2011 at 10:59 am Link to this comment
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Don’t these scientists get it.As long as there is a profit in it,man will kill it…

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, September 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

With all the radioactive materials we’ve been dumping in the seas for the past 60 years these Seabass probably glow.

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By hulk2008, September 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If only we could teach plants to wiggle attractively maybe the Japanese would make sushi out of them instead of marine life.  How about making Soy Fin Soup a delicacy instead of wiping out millions of sharks. 

If we redirect the corn crop back toward food crops instead of fuel, maybe the fish could recover a bit. The US corn crop would also help the economy again.

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By grokker, September 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

Not that I’m in agreement with it, Miss Cast, but they are making things just like what is depicted in the accompanying picture in laboratories as we speak. Food for the Brave New World.

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By Miss Cast, September 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

I’m on board but why did you have to use such a delicious-looking picture! grin

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By berniem, September 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

Deep sea fishing would not be an issue if not for uncontrolled human population growth! Whadda ya think Benny 16?

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