Editor's View: NGO Push to Globally Restrict Bottom Trawling Coming on Several Fronts
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Editor's View / Opinon] by John Sackton - Oct. 2, 2015
I have had several recent conversations on a series of efforts in different fisheries management venues to restrict bottom trawling.
At issue is the degree to which there is potential habitat destruction to slow growing deep sea corals and benthic communities from trawling.
As the North Pacific Council takes up the extensive report on Bering Sea Corals prepared by NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Center, there is likely to be continued debate about whether the Council should enact restrictions on trawling in the Pribilof and Zhemchug Canyons. These canyons have become a centerpiece in a Greenpeace campaign urging retailers to ‘protect Bering Sea Corals’.
The NOAA report found that the Bering Sea substrate was not suitable for coral, and as a result there was a very low abundance. Of all the coral documented, no corals were seen damaged by fishing gear. Part of the reason is that the sparse existing corals generally are not very high, averaging about 8 inches off the sea floor.
Some groups, such as the The Marine Conservation Alliance, which represents harvesters, processors, communities, and community development quota (CDQ) entities with interests in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, have recommended that the council continue studies, particularly with a three dimensional model, to determine if there is overlap with fishing practices and corals, despite the initial findings of no interactions.
But there are a number of ideas put forward in other management venues that may come up in Anchorage...Full Story »