Wednesday 4 July 2012: Last night at around 7pm EST, Dutch police ended the Greenpeace blockage of the Margiris, one of Europe’s largest fishing vessels. For five and a half days Greenpeace activists prevented the vessel from departing to Tasmania, Australia. Alongside Greenpeace, local fishermen and environment organisations in Australia have protested strongly against the vessel going to Australia saying it could spell disaster for local recreational fishing and sets a worrying precedent that would undermine our marine stewardship. (1)
"From recreational fishermen to environment groups, there is a growing community asking that the Australian Government see sense and reject the fishing license for this hugely destructive fishing vessel," said Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.
"Where ever the Margiris has been, it has left collapsed fish stocks in its wake. Australia has an improving record of managing our own fish stocks and we have done so in part by keeping beasts like this out of our waters. The Margiris represents everything that is wrong with the global fishing industry. It has no place in Australia or anywhere else for that matter and we have a global responsibility to not provide another fishing ground for it to simply shift to."
At 142m long, the Margiris poses a direct threat to marine mammals such as seals and dolphins, and seabirds. Able to deploy enormous trawl nets that are up to 600m long with an opening of 100m by 200m across, it dwarfs Australian fishing vessels and is capable of hoovering up vast quantities of marine life.
Greenpeace campaigner Pavel Klinckhammers said: “It is simply an embarrassment how EU fisheries ministers have allowed the departure of this vessel. They urgently need to install specific and time bound measures to cut down the bloated EU fishing fleet, there are simply too many, too big vessels and too few fish, and it is time ministers stop ignoring that fact. Only if this ignorance ends the over sized EU fishing fleet will no longer plunder foreign waters and drive overfishing globally.”
For media interviews contact:
Rosie Jones, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Media Advisor, 0407 284 916,