Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that new regulations have been finalized to protect the seafloor off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.
These would put an end to deep ocean trawling that damages the habitat of corals and sponges that provide for marine life.
The new protections that go into effect in 2020 cover 140,000 square miles of critical ocean ecosystems.
The nonprofit environmental group Oceana helped to bring about the regulations through its years of advocacy for the region and the scientific research data it gathered showing the damage being done by commercial fishing gear to the ocean floor.
Oceana’s Pacific campaign manager and senior research scientist, Ben Enticknap, said, the regulations are “a win-win for ocean conservation and fishermen.”
“Healthy oceans rely on a healthy seafloor and these new conservation areas will ensure that commercially important fish and other ocean animals, like deep-sea corals, octopus, crab and sea stars, can thrive into the future.”
Environmentalists have long opposed bottom trawl fishing methods because of the destruction caused by the weighted nets that are dragged over the ocean floor to catch the fish in their path.
The protections will enable fish populations to flourish and benefit both the ocean environment and fisheries.
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