Coalition calls for ban on deep-sea trawling

A coalition of enviro groups is sounding the alarm over deep-sea bottom trawling, petitioning the U.N. to ban a practice they say is rapidly destroying fragile marine ecosystems, including cold-water corals. Bottom trawling consists of dragging a heavy net across the bottom of the ocean, attempting to snag rare fish like the orange roughy — valued as delicacies in upscale restaurants — that hover close to undersea mountains. Some 95 percent of what is caught in the nets is discarded, dead or dying. “One 15-minute trawl can lay a deep seabed habitat to waste, destroying cold-water corals which have taken millennia to grow,” said Kelly Rigg of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, which is spearheading the call for an immediate moratorium on the practice. Russia, Japan, New Zealand, and Norway are among the 11 countries whose fleets are primarily responsible for bottom trawling.