The new study also looked at how long it takes for ecosystems to recover from trawling impacts, and found that it ranged between just shy of two years and six and a half years. Of course, there are areas of the Gulf of Maine that get trawled day after day.
While this study puts some hard numbers to what trawls do to New England’s seafloor ecosystems, it still leaves some room for interpretation.
“I think we have to be careful in the words that we use. They’re being impacted. I wouldn’t like to use the word disrupted,” said Steve Eayrs, a research scientist at Gulf of Maine Research Institute who specializes in fishing gear design and innovation. “They’re being impacted regularly, day after day, month after month. But they have for a very long time.”