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Canada Fights Ban on 'Bulldozers of the Sea'; Minister Calls Measure 'Not Appropriate'

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SASKATCHEWAN, Canada -- Canada's decision not to follow an international ban on bottom trawling is appropriate, says Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries minister.

Tom Rideout says Canada is right not to endorse a blanket ban on draggers because it would not be practical.

Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn last week refused to follow suit after the United States signed on to a campaign that would ban bottom trawling. Other countries supporting the campaign include Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Rideout said he does not believe that bottom trawling will affect all fish stocks.

"The evidence is to the contrary. Vast sections of the ocean are not affected," said Rideout.

Tom Rideout said technological advances have eliminated some of the long-standing problems with bottom trawling.

Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn last week refused to follow suit after the United States signed on to a campaign that would ban bottom trawling. Other countries supporting the campaign include Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Rideout said he does not believe that bottom trawling will affect all fish stocks.

"The evidence is to the contrary. Vast sections of the ocean are not affected," said Rideout.

"The technology in use today is a far cry from what it used to be a couple of decades ago."

Rideout said new technologies can keep trawl doors from touching the bottom of the floor, and that video cameras help detect sensitive areas.

Scientists and environmentalists say bottom trawling can cause widespread economic damage to marine habitat, and lead to large amounts of bycatch, or inadvertent catches of non-targetted species.

Critics have said Canada is afraid of calling for an international ban on bottom trawling because it would have implications for its domestic fleet.

In a statement last week, Hearn said Canada does not support bottom trawling in sensitive areas.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.


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