180,000 Square Miles of the Bering Sea Made Off Limits to Destructive Bottom Trawling


The Bering Sea isn't exactly the easiest spot on the planet to fish, regardless of the technology used. This photo, by Nick Myers, shows just what sort of waves can occur in the Bering.

There's no denying the fact that the world's fisheries are endangered because of overfishing. In the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna are severely threatened, and the story is the same for many other commercial fish stocks. The pressure of too many boats, with too much technology, chasing too few animals could well be fatal to the world's oceans.

A Total Area of Ocean Five Times That of California Now Protected
ENN brings us the good news is that from August 25th of this year, 180,000 square miles of the Bering Sea will be off-limits to one of the most indiscriminate, destructive forms of commercial fishing: Bottom trawling.

This regulation brings the area of Pacific Ocean protected from bottom trawling to 830,000 square miles. An area five times that of California and nearly double that of lands protected as national parks, forests and grasslands.

Killing Much More Than the Fish You Eat
For those that don't know bottom trawling involves dragging huge nets across the sea floor, destroying corals, sponges and other animals while scooping up the intended object of the hunt, commercially salable fish.

According to Jon Warrenchuk of Oceana, "Bottom trawling is an outdated and wasteful way to try and catch fish. This ecosystem is already being figuratively hammered by climate change. It doesn't need to be literally hammered by bottom trawls."

via :: ENN
What You Can Do About Overfishing
Regular TreeHugger readers probably already know this, but for those you don't: Apart from stopping eating fish altogether—which despite being vegetarian myself, isn't the purpose of this post; that particular soapbox has been put away for now—the simplest thing you can do is to reduce the amount of fish you eat overall and stop eating entirely fish from threatened and endangered fish stocks.

A number of organizations publish online wallet-sized guides which you can reference when buying fish. They target different regions and most are updated at least annually as fishstock data changes.

Here are some of the better ones:
:: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program—Whose guides have been expanded to include fish caught in the Great Lakes.
:: WWF Sustainable Seafood Consumer Guides—Have coverage for fisheries in Europe, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.
:: Blue Ocean Institute
:: Greenpeace Retail Seafood Sustainability Scorecard—Compares various US retailers, comparing which are the best for sustainable seafood, and which aren't so good.

Overfishing
Global Fisheries Hit by Climate Change and Overfishing
Pacific Tuna Overfishing to be Addressed in Panama City
CleanFish: Supplying Sustainable Seafood for All
World's First Sustainable Tuna Fishery Certified

Tags: Alaska | Fish | Oceans | United States

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