www.thebermudian.com FALL 2014 | 51
that has yet to be recorded, entombed lives
that cannot be resurrected, and they provide
habitats for marine life that is often threatened, endangered or on the verge of extinction. With that said, every day that a wreck
goes undiscovered, it deteriorates a little more,
making it harder to identify and, therefore,
limiting the information that can be gleaned
from it. With every moment that passes, these
wrecks run the risk of being destroyed by both
natural and man-made causes.
Brendan Foley of Woods Hole Oceano-
graphic Institution wrote a compelling paper
entitled “Impact of Fishing on Shipwrecks”
that warns of the irreparable damage caused
by commercial fishing activities. He discusses
both the environmental implications and
the losses to the historical record that can
be brought about through activities such as
trawling and even the use of illegal dynamite.
Foley points out, “Wrecks are artificial reefs,
with entire ecosystems forming around them.
Where there are fish, fishermen are not far be-
hind.” He goes on to say, “Ancient shipwrecks
are more delicate [than modern wrecks].
Because the wooden hull is consumed by a
variety of animals, an ancient shipwreck typi-
cally consists of ceramic or inorganic artifacts
lying on the sea floor. If a trawl net is dragged
With fishing technology advancing at a
breakneck pace, fishermen are not only locat-
ing fish with more efficiency, they are also
unintentionally locating shipwrecks due to the
fact that they are where fish like to congregate,
especially during spawning season.