Destruction of coral reefs and pristine marine habitats by deep sea trawling

A survey of the world’s reefs and sea mounts has revealed that deep-sea trawling is causing widespread destruction of marine habitats. Deep-sea trawlers drag giant nets over the seafloor, destroying habitat over huge areas. Cold water coral reefs in temperate regions are among the most threatened sites; these areas contain pristine habitats with many species which are new to science. Deep-sea reefs are particularly vulnerable to trawling, unlike shallow water reefs which are stronger because they need to withstand wave action.

Bans on deep-sea trawling exist in a number of sites around the world, including the biggest cold-water reef in the world, which is in Norway. However Jason Hall-Spencer, a researcher from Plymouth University involved with the survey, emphasises that more needs to be done. He calls for the establishment of an international network of marine reserves which ban deep-sea trawling.

Source: Guardian, 19th February 2010