What Are Seamounts?

not all mountains are covered in trees

or snow some mountains like this one in

Chile are entirely below the sea surface

via submarine mountains called sea

mounts can range from three thousand to

over ten thousand feet tall

taken together sea mounts cover 11

million square miles more than any one

land-based habitats like deserts or

forests these ocean mountains are

hotbeds of marine life nutrient-rich

water flows up their slopes nurturing

corals sponges and fish many species are

endemic to just one sea mount meaning

they live there and nowhere else

sea mounts also attract migratory

species like whales tuna and sharks

which come to feed and meat

where there are fish fishermen aren't

far behind we catch about 3 million tons

of fish from sea mounts every year

scientists say that's far too much fish

like orange roughy which live along the

deep parts of sea mounts can take

decades to reach maturity commercial

fishing can quickly decimate such slow

growing species and to catch these fish

fishermen often use a particularly

destructive form of gear called a bottom

troll bottom trolls plow through fragile

sea mount ecosystems smashing corals and

sponges that can be hundreds or

thousands of years old

luckily in many places sea mounds are

getting the protection they deserve in

2015 for example Sheila became the first

country to ban bottom trawling on its

sea mounts and with new protections this

year all of California's major sea

mounts are now off-limits to trolls


these are mountains we'll never climb

but it doesn't mean we can't appreciate

their beauty and abundance