There are a wide variety of activities that can cause physical damage to the seafloor. Boat anchors, trawling, harbour dredging, commercial and recreational fishing, seafloor mining and underwater cable repairs all have the potential to damage delicate seafloor communities. These practices need to be carefully managed and monitored.
Delicate ecosystems and habitats are not guaranteed to recover even decades after being damaged, so it is important that any new activities are undertaken with caution.
After being damaged, habitats like bryozoan thickets are more vulnerable to other threats, such as sedimentation and disease. This increased sensitivity is coupled with a loss of ecological function, such as the bryozoans’ role as a nursery for shellfish.
Download the Department of Conservation infographic as a PDF.
Copyright: Department of Conservation