Although it is somewhat belated and incredible damage has already been inflicted upon West Coast marine ecosystems, the decision to finally ban bottom trawling on the West Coast of the United States is welcome and greatly appreciated.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has imposed a permanent ban on bottom trawling in 150,000 square miles of federally-controlled waters off the West coast of the United States. The new regulations cover federal waters that extend from three miles to 200 miles off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The federal government has also declared nine commercial species as "overfished. "
The trawling decision was designed to protect coral beds, kelp forests, rocky reefs, and other sensitive fish habitat from damage by weighted nets used to scoop up bottom-dwelling species.
The 150,000 square miles where trawling was banned were listed as "essential fish habitat," a designation that requires federal agencies to try to protect them.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society supports a worldwide ban on bottom trawling and has designated it as one of the most destructive fishing practises in the world.
"These bottom trawl nets not only decimate entire populations of fish, they also destroy the habitat that supports the fish. The person who invented the bottom trawl is a man who should burn in Neptune's hell for his sins and his crimes against the oceans and humanity," said Captain Paul Watson.