Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fishery killing gamut of marine life, scientists say

VANCOUVER — Where commercial fishermen fish and the type of gear they fish with largely determines the amount of collateral damage done to the environment, according to a new national study being released today.

And that damage - from the destruction of rare coral reefs to the incidental killing of species that are accidentally taken as bycatch - has to be reduced, warn three marine conservation groups from Canada and the United States.

The groups undertook a study that examined the impact of 13 different gear types used by commercial fishermen across Canada, ranking the fishing methods according to the severity of their impact on the environment.

The report, How We Fish Matters, says changes in fishing methods are needed to end destructive practices and urges the government to speed up a marine-planning process so that sensitive areas can be protected before it's too late.

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