Our cyberactivists can celebrate yet another landmark in online activism: yesterday we presented a 2-inch thick double-sided document to the UN with over 6000 messages of support for our call to end bottom trawling.
The shining globe outside the United Nations building in New York
At a UN reception in New York on Wednesday night, attended by around 70 UN delegates, we got busy with the photocopier and made sure that the opinions of our supporters were visible from the front door to the buffet table. Our International Policy Advisor, Karen Sack, gave a rousing speech as she then presented the 6000 strong petition to the UN delegates. "They are not scientists, nor specialists," she said of our cyberactivists, "but they are citizens of every nation represented here tonight, and they too want their voice heard inside the UN."
"Their messages bring real clarity to this issue, they understand it is not about food for our tables, it is not about fishing quotas, they understand it is about needless destruction of one of the least protected part of our planet and it is wrong."
The document, containing key quotes and messages of support, will be given to the co-chairs of the current UN meeting on Oceans issues.
We have also presented a video showing the devastation caused by bottom trawling and clips beamed straight from our activists on the Rainbow Warrior as they expose the unregulated fishing taking place on the high seas off the coast of New Zealand. One UN official saw the video and said, "You've just reminded me why I'm here".
But while there are some warm and fuzzy moments to celebrate, there is still a lot of work to do. The Rainbow Warrior is uncovering more damning evidence from the Tasman Sea. Yesterday Rainbow Warrior crew members completed a James Bond-like night mission armed with infrared cameras to document yet another bottom trawler on the high seas. Meanwhile, international and media pressure is building on governments and the UN to support the moratorium on bottom trawling. The New Zealand Fisheries Minister yesterday acknowledged that marine biodiversity does need to be protected. However he did not state exactly how and we suspect that he is trying for a quick fix.
"A marine protected area in a small part of the high seas or similar measures is like trying to fix a broken leg with a bandaid. This is a global problem and we need global action to address it," said our Oceans campaigner Vanessa Atkinson from New Zealand.
The saga continues ...