Author:Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine), University of Glasgow
On September 28, The Conversation published an article: “Don’t fall for the deep-sea scaremongers – wild fishing is healthy and sustainable” by Magnus Johnson, a senior lecturer in Environmental Marine Biology at the University of Hull. The article criticised a paper by marine biologists at the University of Glasgow and Marine Science Scotland on the regulation of deep-sea fishing. The lead authors of the study, David Bailey and Francis Neat, respond here.
Since publishing our study on “A scientific basis for regulation deep-sea fishing by depth“ we’ve been subjected to criticism online and in print from fisheries organisations and most recently on this website in an article by Magnus Johnson. Johnson makes general points about the benefits of sustainable fisheries, that we agree with, but his specific critique of our work falls well wide of the mark.
Our work suggests that stopping deep-sea trawling at a depth of around 600m makes sense, because deeper than this the proportions of total and elasmobranch bycatch species (sharks and rays) in the assemblage increase significantly. At the same time indices of biodiversity are still increasing and the value of the species present falls.
This article was co-authored by Dr Francis Neat of Marine Sciences Scotland.