As coastal and open-water fisheries have become ever more depleted and overexploited, industrial fishing fleets have turned to deep-sea species. Many use highly destructive bottom trawling techniques.
To capture a handful of ‘target’ species, deep-sea bottom trawl fishing vessels drag huge nets armed with steel plates and heavy rollers across the seabed, pulverizing sea life in their path. Fleets are now fishing on seamounts, deep-sea canyons and rough seafloor – areas that were once avoided for fear of damaging nets. They plow through biologically rich and diverse seamount ecosystems, crushing corals, sponges, marine life and habitats as they go.
Many species of unwanted fish are caught as “bycatch” and thrown back dead into the ocean. In a matter of a few weeks, bottom trawl fishing can destroy what took nature many thousands of years to create.