The Esperanza will bear witness to deep sea destruction off Canada's coast.
Just beyond the 200-mile limit of Canada's waters, an estimated
60percent of the world's high-seas bottom trawling takes
Bottomtrawling is the equivalent to clear-cutting the ocean
floor: giantnets, the size of football pitches are weighted across
the bottom withheavy steel rollers that indiscriminately smash and
crush cold-watercorals, sponge forests, and other bottom-dwelling
life, swallowingeverything in their path.
The fish these trawlersare seeking are only a small fraction of
the life they destroy --unwanted "bycatch" is simply thrown
overboard. Imagine using abulldozer to destroy an entire forest
just to catch a few rabbits:that's the kind of indiscriminate
destruction we're talking about.
Thedestruction of deep-sea life in international waters off the
east coastof Canada is especially troubling because, unlike most
otherinternational waters, there is a regulatory body in place to
regulatehigh-seas bottom trawling in that area: NAFO, the North
But according to Bruce Cox, ExecutiveDirector of Greenpeace
Canada, NAFO "is bound by red tape, has littlepunishment for member
countries... and it turns a blind eye frequentlyto infractions of
their own rules."
A highly critical Greenpeace reportcites failure after failure
by the regulatory body to stop overfishingand destructive fishing
collapse of Canada's codfisheries in 1992 is the most infamous
"Without radicalchanges, Regional Fisheries Management
Organisations such as NAFO willbe unable to protect deep sea
biodiversity and will continue tostruggle to sustainably manage
their fisheries," said Martin Willison,a marine scientist at
Canadian Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan responded to the report
The Canadian Pressthat "NAFO needs to change," but he stopped
short of committing toadvocate for a moratorium on high-seas bottom
trawling. He doesn't seemto think that any fishing method is
inherently destructive -- perhapshe should look at the huge 500
year-old piece of coral we documentedbeing pulled up in the nets of
a New Zealand bottom trawler just lastmonth.
"Countrieslike Costa Rica, Germany, Chile, Austria, Belgium have
all moved towardthe call for a moratorium on high-seas bottom
trawling," notes ourOceans Campaigner Bunny McDiarmid. "Even the
fishing industry itselfconcedes that this is the most damaging of
all fishing methods."
Wethink Canada should rethink its position. And we're sending
theGreenpeace ship Esperanza to the Grand Banks to show the
Canadianpublic precisely why.
You can follow the efforts of the Esperanzaover the next few
weeks as the ship documents the destruction, bychecking in on the
Defending the Deep
But in the meantime, please join the
call for a moratorium on high-seas bottom trawling. Give bottom
trawlers the (fish) finger.
Donate to help keep our ships on patrol
Who is looking after our oceans? You are, when you donate to Greenpeace.