Ocean fishing: Bottom trawling causes deep-sea biological desertification

20 May 2014

Source: Science Daily

A study led by scientists from the Polytechnic University of Marche (Ancona, Italy) involving researchers from the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM, CSIC) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), has determined that fishing trawling causes intensive, long-term biological desertification of the sedimentary seabed ecosystems, diminishing their content in organic carbon and threatening their biodiversity.

Trawling is the most commonly used extraction methods of sea living resources used around the world, but at the same time, it is also one of the main causes of degradation of the seabed. This fishing practice originated in the second half of the fourteenth century, and in the last thirty years has grown exponentially.

The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), focuses on assessing the impact of this activity on the meiofauna (small organisms, between 30 and 500 micrometers) living in marine sediments over the fishing grounds of the continental slope, about 500 meters deep. The results reveal that trawling, by continuously stirring over the years the soft sediment of seabed, have led to meiofauna being 80% less abundant and to reduce its biodiversity by 50% lower in comparison with similar areas where no trawling occurs.


For more, go to: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520093440.htm