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In Chapter 6 of your Ocean Recovery text, “The environmental impacts of fishing,

by | Jun 19, 2022 | Biology (and other Life Sciences) | 0 comments


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In Chapter 6 of your Ocean Recovery text, “The environmental impacts of fishing,” Dr. Hilborn makes the argument that “…in general, eating fish that are sustainably harvested from the sea has a lower environmental impact than the alternatives of livestock or even a vegetarian diet” (pg. 81). The table, “A Closer Look” provided on page 75, outlines the range of environmental impacts for aquaculture, livestock, fisheries, and plants. Examine the table to see if any of the values surprise you.
Now examine two quotes from Chapter 6:
“What capture fisheries do is reduce the abundance of targeted species, but they do not transform, that is destroy, natural ecosystems as agriculture does.” (pg. 77)
“Dragging heavy nets over corals and sponges can destroy the existing ecosystem that can take as long to recover as an old-growth forest. There is no question that this should be stopped and the sensitive habitats protected. But most of the world’s fisheries take place in ecosystems that are remarkably little changed by fishing except for the reduction in the abundance of the target species.” (79)
Then look at two quotes from Chapter 10:
“Food from the sea floor comes to us mostly through bottom trawling. It does exactly what it says—it drags a net across the bottom of the ocean and brings up roughly 25 percent of the global fish catch. Dragging anything along the seafloor will kill species that are not intended to be caught. Species that live on top of the sediment are much more vulnerable to fishing gear than are those buried in the sediment, but no matter, bottom trawling by its very nature catches most species in the path of the net, be they target or not. Environmental NGOs love to hate bottom trawls.” (pg 108).
“But hold on—could it be that stirring up the bottom sediments makes the ecosystem more productive and brings to the surface both nutrients and food that would otherwise be hard to find? So—perish the thought—perhaps trawling actually benefits some target species at the same time it diminishes other species that depend on the structure.” (pg. 114).
Assignment Details:
These quotes can seem quite contradictory. Which do you believe is right? Is bottom trawling something we should “love to hate” or is it a necessary means of resource extraction that is not as bad as we thought? Examine the Hiddink et al., 2020 paper which assesses several impacts of bottom trawling. Do the findings support or challenge Hilborn’s statements?
As this is an “argumentative essay”, there are no right or wrong views but you must back up your points with evidence. To learn more about argumentative essays, please visit here (Links to an external site.) and follow the “5 paragraph essay format”.
Please refer to both your Ocean Recovery text and the Hiddink et al., 2020 paper and find at least two additional sources on bottom trawling to support your argument. You should explore the readings and related literature to determine your position and then write your argumentative essay using the following format:
Introduction: 1 paragraph
Argument: 3-paragraph discussion or argument based on your evidence; these may include supporting and opposing viewpoints
Conclusion: 1 paragraph
Your argumentative essay should report your original, personal view on bottom trawling and its environmental effects. It should be no more than 2 pages, double spaced. Please remember to include citations in your text and a reference list (not included in word count).


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