Reforming the European deep-sea fishing regulation: a net win for the UK

The deep-sea areas off the British Isles, though cold, dark and remote from land, are teeming with unique life: cold-water corals, sponge fields, and a large variety of unique underwater habitats and species. Some have been discovered only recently by scientists, and it is likely that many more are yet to be found.

It is unlikely that UK citizens would tolerate the clearcutting of forests simply to put a few rabbits on the dinner table. It would be even more unlikely if those forests had taken thousands of years to grow and harboured biodiversity found nowhere else on Earth.

Yet something very similar is happening in the largest habitat on Earth – the deep sea, including
in UK waters. Deep-sea fishing fleets using bottom trawl gear are severely damaging vast expanses of an environment so fragile that it may never recover, and they are doing so in pursuit of only a few fish species and for very little, if any, economic gain.


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