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Great news! 2013: Chile is first nation to ban ocean bottom-trawling on sea mounts

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posted on Jan, 15 2013 @ 12:49 PM
Ocean seamounts are underwater mountains that don't reach the surface. They are amazingly diverse and poorly understood ecosystems which are full of extremely diverse sea life, some species of which may only be endemic to a certain sea mount.

Seamounts support a huge quantity and variety of life because nutrient-rich deep-sea currents which normally travel undisturbed are forced to rise toward the surface because of the mountain in the way. These nutrients are metabolized by micro-organisms,and support an unusually large plankton population. The plankton then provides support for all other forms of ocean life including whales and sharks, shrimp and herring.

Bottom trawling is a profitable but extremely damaging fishing practice; it is the very epitome of unsustainable activity. When a bottom-trawler scrapes over a slow-growing coral reef, HUNDREDS or even THOUSANDS of years of life-supporting coral structures are destroyed. Even though bottom trawling quickly causes the catch size to diminish in an area due to the whole-scale destruction, the practice is still widespread today because most of it takes place in international waters, where there is currently no regulation and very little oversight. This is an urgent problem on par with rainforest devastation that scientists and environmentalists from around the globe have fought against for years.

An international ban on bottom trawling was proposed by the United Nations in 2006 (even the Bush administration showed its support). Unfortunately, nations with large economic investments in the practice (such as Iceland, Japan and Spain who all have large private fleets designed to trawl the ocean bottom) successfully derailed the effort. []

That is why the decision by Chilean lawmakers to ban bottom trawling is so momentous, and a great example for other nations around the world. Under the same legislation, scientists would also impose a quota on catch size for certain fish species using data showing what the limit of a sustainable catch would be. WAY TO GO, CHILE! YOU'RE AWESOME!!!!

Interesting bonus information:::
Bottom trawling has been controversial ever since it was first practiced in 14th-century England using a sunken wooden beam and a 10 ft net. A petition to parliament in 1376 reads: [wikipedia: bottom trawling]

" means of which instrument the fishermen aforesaid take so great abundance of small fish, that they know not what to do with them, but feed and fatten the pigs with them, to the great damage of the whole commons of the kingdom, and the destruction of the fisheries in like places, for which they pray remedy."

However, by the 19th century, English commissions determined that there should be no limitation on trawling. They believed that bottom trawling, like tilling of land, actually increased production. As evidence, they noted that a second trawler would often follow a first trawler, and that the second trawler would often harvest even more fish than the first. The reason for this peculiarity is that the destruction caused by the first trawl resulted in many dead and dying organisms, which temporarily attracted a large number of additional species to feed on this
moribund mass.

respects, ats

posted on Jan, 15 2013 @ 01:30 PM
Truly great news! Now for the big question; can they enforce the ban? It has been proven that fishing bans only work in countries that can afford the enforcement. Costa Rica banned recently banned sport hunting and shark fining. It is still happening all over the place as though as there are only about 400 cops in the entire country....

Does Chile has a large marine protection force? I just did a quick look and it seems they have a Navy so perhaps they will enforce it.

Still good news (:

posted on Jan, 15 2013 @ 04:38 PM
reply to post by Mamatus

well judging based on their geography (2,600 miles long all of which faces the Pacific) this is a really big deal. They have literally 1,000,000 fishermen in the labor force, and 25,000 navy personnel. This could mean that the enforcement will be flimsy, but obviously it is known where seamounts are on nautical maps so those areas might be patrolled, and also the boats have to be rigged to bottom trawl so there could be inspectors at ports. They seem really capable of making a big impact on ocean health with this policy, not just pragmatically, but also in setting an example!!! :-)

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