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Learning English - Words in the News
05 September, 2005 - Published 14:10 GMT
Destruction of coral reefs
Coral reef

The first evidence to show the destruction of deep sea coral reefs has been filmed by scientists. The scientists involved hope their work will help preserve these habitats that are found all over the world. This report from Ania Lichtarowicz:

Listen to the story

The footage reveals images of animal species never seen before, but it also shows the complete destruction of the corals caused by deepwater trawling. The reefs, which lie a kilometre below the ocean surface, are literally bulldozed leaving almost nothing behind. This is alarming scientists as the reefs are breeding grounds for many fish, without them stocks will plummet. Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer from the University of Plymouth collected the images. He says that these reefs must be protected to preserve newly discovered wildlife and to safeguard future fishing

Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer
"If you want to have fish to eat in the future and you want to have jobs for fishermen in the future then we need to ensure that there's something there to catch. So if you destroy the habitat in which these fish feed and breed then you're going to destroy sustainability of that fishery. So the whole idea really is to protect small parts of the ocean for the benefit of the industries that rely on the ocean."

The deep water reefs are not only found around the west European coast, from Norway, around Scotland, Ireland and right down to Spain, but have also been seen in African waters. Now the scientists have the evidence to show just how devastating deep sea trawlers are to marine life, they hope to be able to prosecute companies that damage the reefs. This they say can be done easily using satellites to track where these large boats go and to ensure they're not destroying wildlife that's almost five thousand years old.

Ania Lichtarowicz, BBC

Listen to the words

The footage
the film that was recorded (the length of film is often measured in feet - 1 foot = 0.3 metres)

a kind of fishing using a large net pulled along the bottom of the sea

literally bulldozed
as if destroyed by a bulldozer, a vehicle used to move large rocks and knock-down buildings

shocking and worrying

breeding grounds
areas where, in this case, fish reproduce

stocks will plummet
the number of fish will fall a great deal and very quickly

the ability for an industry to continue


to prosecute
to take legal action against

to track
to follow

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