Recycling to Save the Environment

What to Do with all those Nuclear Submarines

The world is cluttered with junk left over from the cold war - ICBMs, nuclear subs, etc. Most of it is trash, of course, but some of those subs could still be useful. One major threat to the world's sustainability is deep sea trawling. (Time: Laying Waste to the Deep Sea)

Far out on the high seas, on any given day, hundreds of fishing vessels drag huge nets, big enough to snag a 747 jumbo jet, across the ocean bottom, vacuuming up 150-year-old fish, flattening ancient reefs and destroying everything else in their paths.

Only the biodiversity of tropical rainforests rivals that of the deep sea — our planet's largest wilderness — an aquatic wonderland that is now being systematically razed by what is likely the world's most environmentally destructive business. The fishing occurs mostly around the ocean's most unique topographical formations — submarine canyons, mid-oceanic ridges and tens of thousands of seamounts (most are extinct volcanoes) — which support a stunning profusion of endemic species, many of which are yet to be discovered. Trawlers reduce these habitats to rubble in minutes, undermining the viability of the very fish that brought the vessels there in the first place. A "rapidly growing number of scientific studies documenting [deep-sea] trawling impacts led to the unmistakable conclusion that bottom trawling is the world's most harmful method of fishing," says the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, which comprises leading environmental NGOs around the world and advocates an immediate moratorium on the practice.

All but a few nations have signed on to a moratorium:

After three years of negotiations among roughly 40 countries, the United Nations General Assembly agreed in December 2006 to a new regulatory regime for high-seas fisheries — but Japan, Russia, Iceland and Canada objected to a complete moratorium on unregulated bottom trawling.

Collectively, they pose a much bigger threat to the US and the planet than all the Islamic Jihadists in Iraq (or the World), and they are a much easier target. One nuclear sub could probably sink all the deep sea trawlers in the world in a few months. If business got slow, they could take out a few of those Japanese "scientific" whalers, too.

If nothing else, it would be an object lesson to others.

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