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Subject: Re: Deep Threats for High Seas
From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Wed, 9 Aug 2006 14:19:59 -0400

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Trevor Kenchington wrote:

However, your argument as stated was not confined to such environments and
was equally applicable to areas long trawled, where if there was ever a
stage of chewing up, it is 
past and gone.

Trevor, I often wonder if that past "chewing up" of high quality habitat is
why so many of our fisheries remain a shadow of their former self and may
never fully recover.  Would it be unreasnable to think that decades of
dragging may have already caused at least some irreparable harm to some
very important areas of our oceans (shallow or deep)?

For some context, consider the following...  

From the chapter, "Ogunquit", in the book "A Song for the Blue Ocean" by
Safina (retyped by hand so sorry for any typos):

Aboard the Bunny Clark today, Tim Tower does not need to read about the
1500s, nor does he need his university diploma, to know what has been lost.

"We used to catch big sea pollock, twenty to forty pounds, along the shore.
You never see that anymore; never see that," he says shaking his head and
looking at his shoes.  Sad and angry at the same time, he sees the basis of
his livelyhood being chipped away and being taken apart, fish by fish.

And rock by rock. "These trawlers' net-dragging gear is destroying the
rocky bottom structure and the growth on it that the fish need as habitat,"
Tim says.  "Give you an example: There used to be a great pollock spot on 
the back side of Jeffreys Ledge.  There was a hell of a school of pollock
there.  One other person knew about it, and he knew a dragger captain who
was having hard times, and he took some pity on him, and he gave him the
loran numbers.

The next morning the dragger was working that peak.  The first tow, he got
eighty thousand pounds of pollock.  We never caught a significant amount of
pollock on that spot again.  And I'll tell you something; after that
dragger left, the entire bottom habitat was changed.  What used to be a
sharp, jagged peak on the sonar was a round, flattened hump.  In the
northeast corner there used to be a real sharp edge and all these little
anemones and stuff used to grow there.  Now it's nothing like it used to
be.  You can still catch pollock there occasionally, but - "  Tower ends
his sentence with a dejected wave of his hands.

Mike Flaherty
Wareham, MA

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