Bottom trawling in the high seas has been practiced for many decades. It is extremely destructive to the complex habitat, built over centuries or millennia, that is found in the deep seas around features such as seamounts, hydrothermal vents, ridges and trenches. Much of the life in these regions is unknown to science and is at risk of being destroyed in a fraction of the time it took to build.
It is generally accepted that bottom trawling over complex biogenic habitat is unsustainable, and the fishing industry has developed sufficiently over recent years that there are alternative methods available for accessing the deep sea. Despite several international agreements requiring nations to protect ocean habitats, there are few if any regulations for bottom trawling.
The United Nations General Assembly is due to reconsider bottom trawl management options in October 2006, and negotiations are happening now about a promising resolution proposed by Palau.
You may wish to sign the attached letter on behalf of your organisation requesting the Australian government to support the resolution drafted by Palau, and return it to : Jon Nevill , at firstname.lastname@example.org . HSI is circulating this letter at Jon's request.