The benthic (or seabed) environment is a vital part of deepwater ecosystems and provides a range of habitats for fish and other animals. That is why New Zealand has closed a third of its Exclusive Economic Zone to bottom trawling by law. These areas, known as Benthic Protection Areas, protect at least 10 percent of each of the different seabed habitat types. New Zealand’s Benthic Protection Area network makes up one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world and covers an area four times the landmass of New Zealand. Click here to learn more about New Zealand's Marine Protected Areas.