Planet Watch: Putting The Spotlight On Scorched Earth Fishing

Bottom trawling is to the sea what strip mining and clear-cutting are to land, but as an environmental issue, it's nearly invisible. That could change this week. As part of the International Year of the Ocean, President Clinton and Vice President Gore will be speaking at an environmental conference in Monterey, Calif., and this sort of overfishing is one of the issues they have been asked to address.

Bottom trawlers drag large, weighted nets over the sea floor to catch shrimp and ground feeders like cod, hake, haddock, halibut and flounder. In the process, the nets haul up everything in their...

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