SEAMOUNTS: ECOLOGY, FISHERIES AND CONSERVATION
The ecological and oceanographic importance of seamounts for the status of marine food webs and biodiversity has only recently been recognized, yet seamounts world-wide have been so intensively exploited by fisheries that many of their biotic components have suffered serious depletion. Two especial problems are the overfishing and serial depletion of long-lived, late-maturing fishes and the destruction of coldwater corals and other benthic habitats by bottom trawling. Migratory fish and cetaceans rely on visiting seamount food webs, so that the impact of overfishing raises serious concerns. Controlling these activities is a major problem, especially since about half of all seamounts lie in international waters.
Many of the fundamental ecological processes that maintain seamount communities are poorly understood: the influences of local current patterns on recruitment to the seamount ecosystem; complex food web structure depending on advective food supplies; transient feeding by visitors like tuna and whales; and the integration of different environmental compartments stratified by depth. By bringing together international experts on seamount ecosystems and their fisheries to create a fresh synthesis, this book aims to address these issues and lead the way to an improved insight into seamount ecology and identify measures necessary to conserve their biodiversity and integrity.