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19 September, 2005

The once rich groundfish resources of the Grand Bank have been decimated. The organisation responsible – the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) is fatally flawed, has lost all credibility and must be scrapped, says a report commissioned by the Canadian government, underlining the urgency of international calls for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. “NAFO has been particularly ineffective in managing the stocks under its aegis… to the point that the Panel views its replacement by a more modern organization as a minimum requirement for achieving susbtainability of groundfish resources in the Grand Banks area,” says the Advisory Panel on the Sustainable Management of Straddling Fish Stocks in the Northwest Atlantic (APSS) (1) in its report (2).

Continue reading If NAFO’s the best example, the deep seas are in deep trouble

24 August, 2005

The latest discovery of underwater life in abundance – coral forests at 1000 metres deep – was released today in Vienna at a conference (1) of marine biologists, underlining recent calls to take a time-out on trawl fishing of the ocean bottom until scientists can accurately assess the real richness of deep sea life and its resources. Scientists outlined new research from the US Government National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration 2002 and 2004 Gulf of Alaska Seamount Expeditions. Marine ecologists collected and described a new species of deep sea fan (2), or gorgonian, called a “bamboo coral” from a dozen mountains in the sea between Santa Barbara, California and Kodiak, Alaska, USA, suggesting the animal occurs on peaks throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Continue reading Oceans unveil how little is known

30 June, 2005

In a recent press release, New Zealand’s Seafood Industry Council seeks to draw attention from the growing support for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling by downplaying and distorting the wealth of existing scientific evidence that demonstrates the destructive nature of high seas bottom trawling – including data from New Zealand’s own National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition welcomes the Seafood Industry Council’s acknowledgement that “there can be little doubt that trawling has an effect on the benthic environment”. (1)

Continue reading DSCC to New Zealand bottom trawl fishing industry – get your facts straight

14 June, 2005

The day after the United Nations Informal Consultative Process on the Law of the Seas (UNICPOLOS) ends, in a region of international waters described as a marine Jurassic park, Greenpeace captured a New Zealand bottom trawling fishing vessel on video – dragging up and throwing overboard giant, ancient, deep water corals (paragorgia), endangered black coral and a rare species of crab. “Again and again, we have caught the bottom trawling industry red-handed with the evidence of deep sea destruction in their nets. How many more pictures of clearfelled coral forests do governments need to see before they recognise that a moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters is urgently needed?” said Carmen Gravatt, Greenpeace oceans campaigner onboard the Rainbow Warrior during the three-week expedition to document the destructive impacts of deep sea bottom trawling in the Tasman Sea.

Continue reading Industry Claims Exposed as False

11 June, 2005

Initial impressions of the outcome this year’s meeting of the UNICPOLOS from the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition team in New York. The negotiations finished at about one o’clock this morning. There were moments of real drama as countries grappled for real action just as others tried to prevent it. New Zealand and Costa Rica with support from Mexico and others, fought hard to get a call for urgent and targeted action to protect deep-sea ecosystems on the high seas, in spite of the fatigue, the lateness of the hour and the clear frustration of many delegations that the negotiations were dragging on.

Continue reading Initial impressions of UNICPOLOS outcome

9 June, 2005

As Greenpeace activists onboard the Rainbow Warrior take action against bottom trawling fishing vessels in the Tasman Sea, the Maritime Union of New Zealand says it supports the direct action. Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says it has become obvious that overfishing and bad practices such as bottom trawling are wrecking the environment, and would also destroy the industry that depends on the environment. According to Hanson it is time for New Zealanders think about the livelihoods of future generations as well as the environment. According to Glover and Smith, he’s right – fishermen have only 20 years before all deep-sea fisheries present in 2003 are commercially extinct. (1)

Continue reading Maritime Union backs action on bottom trawling

8 June, 2005

Every year for the last three, environmental NGO representatives have stood before you and pleaded for real and immediate protection of ocean life. Every year, on behalf of the millions of people that support us, we have asked that you become guardians of the oceans for our children’s future – to protect against overfishing, ocean pollution from noise, shipping, oil and gas exploration, military activities and increasingly the impacts of climate change.

Continue reading Put humanity before technology

8 June, 2005

The DSCC has released a white paper highlighting the six main arguments that have motivated 1,136 scientists from 69 nations to publicly call for an immediate time-out on the most destructive fishing method in the least protected place on Earth – deep sea bottom trawling on the high seas. The report, launched at a press conference at the sixth meeting of the United Nations Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (UNICPOLOS), is a synthesis of the science to date on high seas bottom trawling by group of scientists (1).

Continue reading Six good reasons for a time-out on high seas bottom trawling

7 June, 2005

It isn’t, on the face of it, a hard case to make. In fact, it would seem obvious: dragging bottom trawls, complete with giant steel doors and rollers, across the sea bed is bound to be immensely damaging to the deep sea habitat and the species that live there. As far back as 1376, fishermen from the Thames Estuary petitioned king Edward III of England to ban primitive trawl nets that they feared could cause “great damage of the common’s realm and the destruction of the fisheries.”

Continue reading Such a hard case to make?