Keeping the UN on the hook

Feature story - June 4, 2004
Tourists got more than they bargained for this morning when they turned up at Spanish architect Gaudi's landmark cathedral, Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona. Greenpeace activists, clinging to the famous spires like orange-clad gargoyles, had added a splash of colour that even Gaudi hadn't imagined by hanging large banners saying "SOS" and "Save Our Seas" in a bid to catch the attention of the UN Environment meeting happening just down the road.

Greenpeace climbers scale the top of the main towers of the cathedral La Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family) and unfurl banners which read SAVE OUR SEAS.The action is timed for The Program of United Nations for the Environment in Barcelona, where discussion will take place for the future of the world's oceans.

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About 25 activists from the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium were out in force in Barcelona this morning. Some scaled the menacing Sagrada Familia cathedral towers (despite a slightly hair-raising wind) to hang banners and others wearing "SOS" t-shirts handed out information on deep-sea bottom trawling to tourists below.

"Politicans and officials are meeting down the road to discuss our oceans for World Environment Day on June 5th, but we want real action, not just more talk," said Kate Nustedt, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner.

"We want a real outcome. We want a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling."

World Environment Day has an Oceans theme this year, and next week there is also an important UN Oceans meeting in New York. So if you think you've noticed a bit of a pattern recently you're not wrong - we are ramping up our Oceans campaign, and the net is tightening around irresponsible fishing companies and governments. Earlier in the week the Rainbow Warrior left New Zealand on a deep sea mission, activists in New Zealand had a roughing-up courtesy of the Orange Roughy Management Company, the Icelandic government announced that it is scaling down its "scientific" whaling due to "domestic pressure" and today ... the launch of our brand spanking new Oceans site: Save Our Seas.

Save our Seas features an interactive map and fascinating facts - get to know the delightful snot eel which eats its dinner from the inside out, find out why 100 million sharks are killed each year and why tainted seafood costs US$7.2 billion a year. A key focus on the site is also the fascinating and largely undiscovered deep sea world which is currently under threat from bottom trawling.

Next week we will be presenting over 4700 names of cyberactivists from around the globe to the UN Consultative Process in New York which can help us secure a moratorium on the most destructive fishing process in our ocean today - bottom trawling.

"Everyone recognises that our oceans are in crisis. We can't continue to exploit them in this way, " said Carmen Gravatt, Greenpeace oceans campaigner, speaking from the Rainbow Warrior. 'The deep seas are the last great unknown spaces on earth. We're running out of time - we don't want another round of UN talking shops. We want real commitments and real action to save our seas."

Take Action

Tell the UN what you think of bottom trawling

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Follow the Rainbow Warrior on its deep sea mission

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