Coral concerns spur vast trawling ban
Seattle Times – USA
Commercial fishing nets that drag the sea floor will be banned from more than a half-million square miles of ocean near the Aleutian Islands under a government plan to protect the deep-water corals and sponges that help nurse Alaska’s fishing grounds.
In what easily will be the largest trawl-fishing ban in the United States, the governing body that oversees commercial fishing in the North Pacific yesterday proposed a whole new approach to protecting the rocky, colorful seafloor habitat. Scientists believe the coral may help incubate a fertile fishing area that helps supply a significant portion of U.S. seafood.
Coming shortly after two scientific panels proclaimed the world’s seas were in ecological trouble, the decision signals a shift in thinking about how to manage oceans, and puts new pressure on the bodies that oversee fishing in Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coast waters to follow suit.