The Rainbow Warrior departing from Waitamata harbour in Auckland for its research expedition looking at deep sea fishing and the effects on the fisheries and sea bed.
In case you've lived in cave or are a bit too young to remember,
the original Rainbow Warrior was bombed by the French government in
July 1985 during our campaign against nuclear testing in the South
Pacific. However she lives on beneath the waves as an artificial
reef and home to diverse marine life. So visiting the original
Warrior was a fitting start to a journey intended to protect that
life from unscrupulous fishing.
crew of the second Rainbow Warrior laid a wreath - of both native
and non-native flowers to represent their multicultural crew -
above the wreck to remember the past as they set out for the
Until recently, many believed that there was little life in the
dark, distant waters of the deep sea. But new technologies have
turned that belief on its head, and animations such as "Finding
Nemo" and "Spongebob Squarepants" have brought new attention to the
oceans. Scientists and the fishing industry both now know that
there is an abundance of life in the deep sea, and that it is
especially concentrated around certain underwater features, in
particular, seamounts - underwater mountains over 1000 metres
But in its relentless pursuit of fish for our dinner tables, the
fishing industry doesn't think deep sea life is worth saving.
Inexplicably they seem to find it quite logical to drag huge nets
through ancient underwater forests of coral and the unexplored
worlds of unknown creatures.
To make the whole situation even more alarming, most bottom
trawling occurs on the high seas. (While that conjures up images of
swashbuckling pirates, the high seas are actually ocean areas
beyond the 200 mile economic exclusive zone.) In the high seas most
bottom trawling is either unregulated or not covered by a regional
fisheries management organisation. If they're allowed to carry on
unregulated, we won't have much life in the deep sea before long.
And that's why we're calling for an immediate end to it.
There is so much to be discovered about this last frontier.
Thousands of deep sea species are still being discovered every
year. The life of the deep sea could provide new medicines, answer
questions about the origins of life on our planet, and provide
clues to the possibility of life on other worlds.
"We spend the night at anchor, here in Matauri Bay. It's kind
of strange to think of two Rainbow Warriors in the same
place... one bobbing about on the surface, full of humans, and
another, 20 metres or so below, inhabited by fish." - Dave Walsh,
web editor on board the Rainbow Warrior
You can follow
the crew of the Rainbow Warrior as they discover more about
what is happening to our deep sea life.
Find out more about saving deep sea life.