This is extremely wasteful for a number of reasons in light of the researchers’ discovery that these bottom feeders are actually carbon sinks—natural receptacles for excess carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming not unlike forests and the ocean itself.
When mid-level swimming fish like squid and jellyfish make their deep-sea dives after feeding on the surface, they’re often caught and eaten by these bottom dwellers. The carbon present in the systems of these mid-level swimming fish is then contained within the bottom feeders. University of Southampton scientists estimate that these carbon sink fish are neutralizing more than a million tons of carbon dioxide from UK and Irish waters alone.
According to a recent article by Steve Williams on the Environmental News Network, “The researchers investigated this by collecting muscle tissue samples from fish caught in fish trawls off the west coast of Ireland, at varying degrees between 500 and 1,800 meters. To look at how much carbon was present at each stage they searched the muscle samples and looked for carbon and nitrogen isotopes. By doing this, the researchers are able to see how carbon transfers through the ecosystem and thereby determine diet and the predator/prey dynamics of that area.”