An international team of marine scientists have urged governments to ban commercial deep sea fishing.
According to the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, deep sea fisheries are unsustainable and, as a consequence of continuous deep sea fishing, the fish stock is exhausted and will take longer time to recover than any other species.
Saying the deep sea is the world's worst place to catch fish, the scientists called for limiting fishing to more productive water closer to coasts as the replenishment rate there is much higher than in the deep sea, which has less light and nutrients.
Led by marine ecologist Elliott Norse, the Sustainability of Deep-sea Fisheries study found that in recent decades fishing operations targeted the unregulated high seas as overfishing had already exhausted stocks nearer to shore. Now with depleted fish and destroyed corals, the open ocean is about to become a watery desert, the scientists said Wednesday.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, deep sea fishing increased sevenfold between 1960 and 2004.
Instead of overfishing the Earth's biggest but most vulnerable ecosystem, nations should recover fish populations and fish in more productive coastal waters, said Norse. He also urged governments to take more effective actions to ban deep sea fishing.
As most of the deep sea fishing waters are international, individual countries should also take precautionary measures and follow stricter rules to ensure that fisheries are not depleted, said the marine scientists.