01/27/2012 - I'm not sure whether logically you can have such a thing as a footprint in water... but if you can, then the footprints of human fishermen now cover much more of the world's oceans than half a century ago.
Proponents point out that some areas of sea bottom are devoid of anything special and can stand it. The commission's argument is that too often, we don't know what is there before it is too late - and EU nations are committed to using the precautionary principle in such cases.
The commission also wants to see boats carrying independent scientific observers, and would be restricted to landing their catches in ports where inspection facilities are sophisticated enough to deal with the relatively unusual species involved.
Environmental groups are of course urging the commission to go further. And a report this week from the Pew Environment Group shows that in one sense, regulating bottom fishing should be very easy.
Read the full article, Fishing's Global Footprint, on BBC News' Web site.