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Deep sea fishing is "oceanocide"

Wednesday 29 June 2016, by Isabelle

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All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

2010 september, 13th

"Fewer than 300 boats in the world are destroying the deep sea, the largest reservoir of biodiversity on Earth.

They are wiping off the map deepwater coral reefs and sponge beds thousands of years old as they chase their lucrative quarry: a few highly priced fish, known to be extremely vulnerable to over-fishing because they are long-lived, slow-growing and late at reproducing.

The entirety of the deep-sea catch, without exception, is sold to rich industrialized countries that certainly don’t need those fish. And deep-sea bottom trawling continues despite a scientific consensus that emphasizes how utterly unsustainable and destructive this fishing practice is.

In blatant ignorance of science and oblivious to common sense, bottom trawling — or "bulldozing," as it should be called — goes on with the complicity of our governments and our own support.

Large subsidies are paid to trawling fleets with our tax money. Every one of us is thus paying for industrial-scale ships to go out and pillage our planet’s last pristine wilderness, contributing to an unprecedented "oceanocide", the largest and fastest ecological crime of all time.

The deep ocean is home to a diversity of animals beyond anything our brain can handle, comprising millions of new species yet to be discovered.
Wherever deep-sea trawlers pass, they remove 98 to 100 percent of what’s on the seafloor: sponges and corals, of course, but also all sorts of animals.
Uprooting 4,000-year old corals with trawl-nets and dumping them off the side of the ship as ocean waste is akin to exhuming Egyptian mummies and disposing of them as trash.

Deep-sea bottom trawling is the result of a massive collective failure to sustainably manage productive areas and fish stocks in the shallow ocean.
So why are the 10 fishing nations that are accountable for 80 percent of all deep-sea fishing covering the back of a few private destructive endeavors?
Aren’t our governments supposed to defend the common good against individual interests?

All it would take is cutting the oil subsidies given to these fleets. This would so strongly jeopardize the profitability of the fishing operations that they would inevitably cease. Instead of that, states are pumping public funds into keeping those few ships afloat, using the ignorance of the public as a tacit benediction of their inexcusable environmental crime.

That diverted use of public money without the explicit consent of taxpayers constitutes an environmental "odious debt" that will eternally shame governments that failed to put a halt to deep-sea bottom fishing.


Claire Nouvian

Source : CNN

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