Nations to rein in South Pacific bottom trawling
Representatives of 25 governments met in Chile last month to discuss the formation of a South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization and sustainable-fishing regulations for the region’s high seas.
Environmental groups lauded one of the principal outcomes of the meeting: the creation of rules that would effectively end a fishing method called bottom trawling in the South Pacific’s international waters.
“Bottom trawling is the world’s most destructive fishing practice, and it’s being done throughout the high seas, the least protected place on earth,” says Matthew Gianni of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, a global network of marine-conservation organizations. “This meeting was a major step forward in the conservation of high seas fisheries.”
But industrial fishing operators, while supportive of restrictions on bottom trawling, complained that the rules go too far. Meanwhile, green activists and some fishing-industry representatives were concerned that a second measure adopted—a two-year limit on fishing for jack mackerel (Trachurus murphy)—is structured in such a way that the species will come under more pressure rather than less.