Deep-water longline fishing has reduced impact on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems

A study published in April this year in Nature Scientific Reports by Azorean researchers from the Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas at the Universidade dos Açores found that the negative impact of bottom trawling on deep-water corals and sponges on seamounts in the Northeast Atlantic is likely to be 296—1,719 times higher than the impact of deep-sea longline fishing — the fishing technique used by Portuguese fishermen in the Azores and Madeira Islands. The study’s authors concluded that “deep-sea bottom trawling is the most destructive form of deep-sea fishing and an issue of global concern” and that “unless some radical changes in governance and management are being made, damages to deep-sea ecosystems will soon be irreversible.”

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