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. [earthdive.com]
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]
"...by 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