Monday, August 25, 2008

Scuba divers must show tough stand on buttom trawling


by Charles Roring
Diving community must show their strong opposition to bottom trawling in order to protect the fragile marine habitat. Bottom trawler is a fishing ship that tows cone-shape net across sea floor. This fishing method destroys corals, sea grass beds, and sponges that are essential places for juvenile fishes to hide from their predators. As a result, fish populations have rapidly declined. This will effect the food security of future generations.
Most of recreational scu
ba divers haven't known about this issue. As tourists, they visit various marine parks that are well protected by governments regulations. Many do not realize that a few kilometers beyond the protected coral reefs, the marine ecosystem are being destroyed by highly destructive fishing vessels.
So far, only marine environmentalists that have strongly expressed their opposition to bottom trawling in mass media. Actually, resorts and diving operators can participate in this campaign by providing information about the danger of destructive fishing practices in their websites. They can also put books or posters related to this matter in every cottage so that tourists can read them.
Each scuba diving clubs can urge their respective governments to introduce Ocean Habitat Protection Act that aims at banning highly destructive fishing gears and dredgers.
Scuba divers know well that ocean environment is a beautiful home to diverse marine creatures. The implementation of such act will bar harmful fishing gear from fragile coral reefs and fish species.
Photographer: Linda Wade (NOOA photo library)