Another recent study on bottom fishing honed in on New England ecosystems, and found that mobile fishing gear -- like bottom trawls and scallop dredges -- cause more damage to ecosystems than stationary gear like traps and gillnets, according to a press release. Additionally, the researchers found that geological formations, like cobbles and boulders, are more susceptible to these destructive fishing practices and take longer to recover than sand and mud habitat -- which, the researchers note, makes sense since it took these geological structures thousands of years to form. The scientists hope their research will aid in developing a framework for fisheries managers, identifying spatial overlap of the most destructive fishing gears and the most vulnerable habitat. Their work is currently being used to construct the fishing closures on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine.
Oceana is working to protect deep sea communities from this destructive fishing practice both domestically and internationally. In U.S. waters, Oceana is campaigning to limit or prohibit bottom trawling in areas known to house corals or deep sea sponges, and Oceana's "freeze the footprint" campaign provides recommendations for fisheries managers. In Europe, Oceana works to classify marine habitats in the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean and inform management proposals. Portugal recently closed over two million square kilometers to destructive fishing gears like trawling, and as a result of Oceana's efforts, 180,000 square miles of the Bering Sea are closed to bottom trawling.