AUCKLAND / NEW YORK - June 8 - The Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, today exposed the reality of the most destructive fishing practice on the high seas, after discovering the New Zealand flagged "Amaltal Voyager'' bottom trawl fishing in international waters of the Tasman Sea.
Bottom trawling is a highly destructive fishing technique, which literally ploughs up the ocean floor, catching all marine life - not just the targeted fish, and shattering ancient corals. It leaves the seabed almost devoid of life and incapable of recovery, in just one sweep.
While activists from the international environmental organisation documented the vessel on the high seas, a Greenpeace delegation has begun talks at the United Nations to secure a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. (1)
"Unregulated high seas bottom trawling is destroying the rich biodiversity of the deep sea, " said Greenpeace campaigner Carmen Gravatt, aboard the Rainbow Warrior. "These vessels are fishing without regard for the consequences of their actions. "
More than a thousand scientists are supporting the call for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, because of the vast amount of marine life that is destroyed by this fishing technique. Many species have not even been described or discovered before they are fished out, while ancient corals and sponges are decimated, with little chance of recovery. (2)
"There are only a small number of nations responsible for this environmental devastation," said Karen Sack, Greenpeace International Oceans Policy Advisor, at the United Nations. "While they reap rich rewards, the biodiversity of the least protected area of this planet is being wiped out. That is why the United Nations must impose an immediate moratorium on bottom trawling."
For more information please go to: www.greenpeace.org/saveourseas
NOTES TO EDITORS:
(1) The 5th meeting of the United Nations Informal Consultation on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (UNICPOLOS) is being held at the United Nations in New York. It ends on Friday 11th June. The focus of the meeting is on the conservation and management of the biological diversity of the seabed in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
(2) Greenpeace's demands to protect the high seas are also echoed by an international environmental alliance, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, which is also present in New York.