Iran 1, Iceland 0

What country as an American would you prefer to take residence in, Iran or Iceland? Sure you said Iceland…with high literacy rates and polar hotties there may even be a science fiction reading honey*. But maybe you should go with Iran.

A recent article in the Mehr News titled Bottom trawl, most destructive form of fishing must be abandoned makes these comments…

Referring to bottom trawl fishing [an Iranian expert} said the method must be abandoned because it leads to the extinction of many species of maritime creatures. Ninety-five percent of the material caught in deep sea bottom trawlers’ steel nets that are dragged along the seabed, are thrown back overboard, dead, destroyed or dying. These trawls really do devastate the seabed, destroying everything in their paths, marine biologists maintain. Deep sea bottom trawling has been compared to clear cutting ancient forests or using a bulldozer to catch rabbits. It is considered the most destructive form of fishing. Only a handful of countries have deep sea bottom trawl fleets operating in international waters, the most prolific amongst these being Spain, other European countries and Russia. New Zealand is one of the only 11 countries that took approximately 95% of the reported high seas bottom trawl catch.

Contrast this to the opinion piece in the Washington Post….

In a form of fishing known as bottom trawling, huge, weighted nets are dragged across the ocean floor, destroying corals and just about everything else in their path. In U.S. waters, the practice is tightly regulated – and forbidden in certain environmentally sensitive areas. On much of the high seas, however, it’s open season. Delicate ecosystems get ravaged with nobody paying attention…Last month, thanks in large part to Iceland, it failed to get that measure. Iceland did not act alone in preventing a ban: Russia, Japan, China and South Korea joined in. Iceland’s embassy said it “strongly objects to claims, made by some environmental organizations, that it was in the forefront of blocking consensus” to ban deep-sea bottom trawling. The denial is disingenuous. In closed-door negotiations, Iceland, along with Russia, took a particularly vocal and aggressive stand against strong action. Because the arcane rules of high-seas fishing are largely defined by consensus, even small countries can prevent agreement. The result in this case was a mushy resolution that fell far short of what the administration and environmental groups wanted, which in turn is ominous for efforts to protect marine life in international waters.

*note sarcasm just had to poke at the sore a little, just couldn’t help myself

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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