Scientists Calls for Ban On Industrial Deep-Sea Fishing

A new report by a team of international scientists calls for a ban on industrial deep-sea fishing, saying that decades of overexploitation have depleted fish stocks that take longer to recover than other species. The report, published in the journal Marine Policy, says that depletion of global fish stocks near shore has led to increased operations in deeper, unregulated waters. Even at these greater depths, technological innovations have made it easier to locate and harvest productive areas, including the use of massive nets that scrape the sea bottom, decimating fish populations and destroying deep-sea corals. “We’re now fishing in the worst places to fish,” Elliott Norse, president of the Marine Conservation Institute and lead author of the study, told The Washington Post. “These things don’t come back.” The scientists say that some species — such as orange roughy, sablefish, and Patagonian toothfish — can lives for decades or centuries but take many years to reach sexual maturity. According to the UN, the catch of deep-sea fish increased sevenfold from 1960 to 2004.