Alien VS. Predator

Press release - 1 November, 2004
Alien-like species of the deep are being destroyed by EU bottom trawlers despite pledges to protect them. At a press conference in Dublin today dozens of mysterious creatures from the deep ocean, including green-eyed sharks, spider crabs and blob fish, needlessly destroyed by EU fleets bottom trawling on the high seas, were put on display on the Greenpeace ship, MV Esperanza.

In the next 48 hours, negotiations at the United Nations over the future of the high seas reach a critical phase. While earlier this year the EU called for protection of deep sea life, they are now reversing their position and actively blocking calls for the moratorium (1).

"Negotiations over a United Nations moratorium on high seas bottom trawling have become a case of alien vs. predator. While the high seas should be a resource for all, they are being destroyed by a small number of nations who insist on carrying out the most destructive fishing practice against deep sea life," said Vanessa Atkinson, Greenpeace Campaigner onboard the MV Esperanza.

High seas bottom trawling literally ploughs up the ocean floor in search of fish and the fleets often target seamounts - the least explored mountains on the planet, that rise more than a 1,000 metres from the ocean floor. Seamounts are teeming with deep-sea life, some of which is undiscovered by science and much is unique to individual seamounts.

Maria Jose Caballero, Greenpeace campaigner onboard the "Esperanza", said: "The EU and all governments of the world must support a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. The UN is currently meeting to protect deep seas from this kind of destruction and the EU is inexcusably blocking attempts to stop bottom trawlers trashing important and unique habitats."

The "Esperanza" has spent the last three weeks spotlighting and challenging bottom trawling in the North Atlantic. Seamounts in this area run from the south of Iceland to the Azores and form the world's largest mountain range.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

VVPR info: Photo and video are available: Photo: +31 646 16 2009 Video: + 31 646 197 322

Notes: (1) In February 2004 during the Irish presidency, an EU proposal at the Convention of Biological Diversity called upon the United Nations General Assembly to take urgent short-, medium, and long-term measures "to eliminate or avoid" destructive practices adversely impacting the marine biological diversity [of vulnerable deep-sea areas]." (2) Greenpeace is a member of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, an international alliance of organizations, representing millions of people in countries around the world, which is calling for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.