The origins of bottom-trawling are not completely clear, but the first written reference to this type of fishing dates back to the fourteenth century in England. Presumably, it originated as a more efficient way to capture marine life – however, even its early days bottom trawling drew heavy criticism because of its damaging effects on the marine environment. During the nineteenth century, bottom trawling became more widespread in countries like the United States, the reason being that railroads became available to quickly transport captured fish inland for sale before they went bad. Bottom trawling continues largely because it is an effective way to gather large numbers of fish with minimal effort. In the long run, though, this destructive form of fishing is depleting stocks oceanwide, and jeopardizing the future of world fisheries by damaging marine habitats.
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