In Dead Water

These unique features make seamounts a lucrative target for fisheries in search of new stocks of deep-water fish and shell- fish, including crabs, cod, shrimp, snappers, sharks, Pacific cod, orange roughy, jacks, Patagonian toothfish, porgies, grou- pers, rockfish, Atka mackerel and sablefish. Our knowledge of seamounts and their fauna is still very limited, with only a tiny fraction of them sampled and virtually no data available for seamounts in large areas of the world such as the Indian Ocean (Ingole and Koslow, 2005). Often, fishermen arrive be- fore the scientists. For a short time period, sometimes less than 3 years, the catches around seamounts can be plentiful. However, without proper control and monitoring, especially

in areas beyond national jurisdiction, stocks are exploited un- sustainably and collapse rapidly. The reason for this ‘boom and bust’ are the characteristics of many deep-water organ- isms: unlike their counterparts in traditional, shallow-water fishing grounds, the deep-sea fish targeted around seamounts are long-lived, slow to mature and have only a few offspring (Glover and Smith, 2003; Johnston and Santillo, 2004). This makes them highly vulnerable to over-fishing by industrial fishing practices (Cheung et al ., 2007). In addition, the ben- thic communities, which support these fish stocks and their recovery, are seriously damaged or completely destroyed by the impact of heavy bottom trawling and other fishing gear


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