Eric A. Bilsky

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Fall 2006


While the oceans are mostly out of sight, and therefore mostly out of mind, they make up the majority of our environment. They are a place where industrial food production relies on hunting rather than farming. But industrial food production relies on industrial equipment such as massive bottom trawl nets and scallop dredges that scrape across the seafloor. The use of these destructive tools has been compared to using bulldozers for hunting squirrels in the forest. The resulting impact is comparable to clear-cutting forests — but could be far more devastating. In 1998, scientists estimated that every two years, destructive trawlers sweep an area equivalent to the entire world’s continental shelf. This article examines one route among many leading to the goal of conserving marine habitat: using the statutory mandate directing regional fishery management councils to protect essential fish habitat (“EFH”).