Hard evidence of high seas destruction

Feature story - 11 June, 2004
LATEST UPDATE: UN fails to protect deep seasUnited Nations delegates are standing on the brink of rejecting an opportunity to protect high seas biodiversity. At the same time, the Greenpeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior has discovered hard evidence of the indiscriminate destruction happening right now - including rare and protected species.

A Greenpeace activist on the Rainbow Warrior holds a ghost shark recovered during the day from bycatch discarded by the deep sea trawler Chang Xing in international waters in the Tasman Sea. Greenpeace along with 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 method.

Yesterday, black coral, which has had Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) protection since 1981, was dragged up from the floor of the Tasman Sea by one of the several bottom-trawling vessels being tracked by Greenpeace.

Marine biologist holding protected
species of black coral found in
bottom trawler net

Many other species were also suffering cruel, wasteful and unnecesssary deaths, some of which were rarely sighted creatures including deep sea sharks and squid, and others which were commercially valuable fish species left to die because they were not the intended catch for this trawler. The Rainbow Warrior crew, including a marine biologist, have documented the destruction in their recent mission in the high seas off the coast of New Zealand.

This is yet further evidence that an immediate moratorium on high seas bottom trawling is needed to protect the unique biodiversity of the deep sea.


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