A fantastic deal has been struck by the South Pacific nations, to ban bottom-trawling in a huge section of sea. The area will include anywhere that vulnerable ecosystems are known to exist, as well as anywhere it is likely that they exist, and represents a quarter of the world’s oceans. It will take a very extensive analysis of a region to prove that this is not the case, before that area is allowed to be trawled. The delegation from New Zealand said, "because of the cost implications of the necessary research and assessment and observer requirements, it may even have the effect of putting an end to bottom-trawling."
Bottom trawling involves dragging huge nets along the ocean floor, with up to fifteen tonnes of weights attached. It can scrape up and destroy coral reefs that take many years to grow, and also throw up large clouds of sand from the sea bed which affect fish. The image below, from a previous post, shows exactly what bottom-trawling can do to the ocean floor. It shows the same section, before and after bottom-trawling of that area.
"This is a major step forward in the protection of biodiversity on the high seas," Matthew Gianni, a spokesman for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition. "It can be done, it has been done, and it's time for all countries to do the same in all other ocean regions." The ban will come into force on September 30th. :: BBC