Q&A: Michael Bell and Chuck Cook

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Tell us a bit about how The Nature Conservancy’s California Marine Program decided to become involved with the bottom-trawling fishery in California?

CC: In mid 2003, we were trying to determine the biggest threat to marine biodiversity in California, and bottom trawling was identified as triple threat: it affected seafloor habitats, had high bycatch rates because it’s an indiscriminate form of fishing, and after 75 years, had removed enormous biomass from those ecosystems.

MB: This fishery in 1987, made 110 million and in 2003 it was only 35 million.  So we started wondering, what is wrong with this fishery?

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