Coral reefs are usually associated with the balmy blue waters of the tropics, but the amazing underwater kingdoms exist in cooler climes, too — at least for now. A new study by French, British, and Norwegian scientists found that 4,500-year-old reefs in the northeastern Atlantic are severely threatened by deep-sea fishing. The scientists found gouges up to 2.5 miles long in the coral, as well as reef-dwelling species pulled to the surface in fishing nets. Greenpeace, which has long championed a ban on industrial fishing in reef areas and successfully sued Britain in 1999 for giving the go-ahead for oil companies to explore the northeastern Atlantic, said the report bolstered its call for national governments to protect the reefs.
Get Grist in your inbox