News of the WeekFisheries Science

Papers Posit Grave Impact of Trawling

Science  18 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5397, pp. 2168
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5397.2168b

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A group of marine scientists has lobbed a rhetorical warning shot across the bows of the world's trawling fleet with new evidence this week that dragging heavy nets across the seafloor causes far more environmental damage than does the more visible clearing of forests. Some trawlers are returning fire, however, saying that the scientists have overstated their case and that some fishing grounds have remained productive despite more than a century of trawling. Caught in the crossfire are government fisheries officials, who believe the new findings will fuel but not settle an increasingly rancorous debate over whether to curtail trawling in some heavily fished waters.