Author: Alistair Bland
The jury is in on marine reserves: They work. Research has repeatedly shown that fish numbers quickly climb following well-enforced fishing bans, creating tangible benefits for fishers who work the surrounding waters. In fact, many experts believe fishing will only be sustainable if marine reserves are expanded significantly.
That’s why some activists and scientists are now discussing the idea of creating a marine reserve so big it would cover most of the ocean. Specifically, they want fishing banned in international waters.
Also called the high seas, international waters include all parts of the ocean 200 miles or more from sovereign land. That’s about 58 percent of the ocean’s surface. In this largely unregulated area, fishing boats use voluminous trawl nets, longlines miles in length, and other industrial gear to catch migrating tunas and billfishes, sharks, and seafloor species like toothfish, usually sold as Chilean sea bass.
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