Scientists cite benefits of seabed trawling

By on September 20, 2013

Contrary to the assertions of many environmentalists, a new modeling study indicates that seabed trawling may have ecological benefits, New Scientist reported.

Trawling is often criticized for its impact on the seabed and the fish that inhabit it. Large crustaceans and shellfish are certainly removed, but evidence shows that smaller species benefit from the process. With the competition gone, species such worms grow in numbers, and in turn provide a greater food source for fish.

Imants Priede of the University of Aberdeen, U.K., insists that trawling more than once a year can improve fish stocks, particularly on continental shelves. Her ideas are supported by studies new and old — some dating back 20 years.

Despite these findings, conservationists argue that trawling techniques are detrimental to fish that require more complex habitats, such as halibut and skate.

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