Daily blogs from the frontlines of the Greenpeace planet down under. 

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  • Last week in the Pacific high seas, we busted a Taiwanese longliner fishing illegally. The case sent shock waves around the region and the tuna industry. Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency agreed to meet with our colleagues in Taiwan after they protested outside their office. The Government of Nauru boldly banned transshipment in their waters, and the issue will be discussed at a Pacific tuna meeting this week, where Pacific Island countries and other fishing powers discuss fisheries rules and how they are being followed (or not, as the case may be).

    Meanwhile, here on the Rainbow Warrior we struggled with the amount of evidence we had uncovered from the vessel. In addition to the fact that it wasn’t on the regional Record of Fishing Vessels (a database of vessels authorised to fish in these waters... Read more >

  • Honouring courage and compassion: Peace Day 2015

    Blogpost by Kumi Naidoo - September 21, 2015 at 13:16

    I was 22 years old when I had to leave my homeland, South Africa. I had no choice. I was living underground for a year by then, to avoid being arrested. This was 1987, in the midst of one of the most bloody and violent periods in the history of Apartheid South Africa. The green peaceful streets of Oxford, where I was lucky enough to end up, seemed like a cartoon to me. They seemed unreal, while the violence I left behind felt very real and near. I stayed awake at night thinking of friends and relatives left behind.

    I remember these feelings now every time I look at the heartbreaking images of people fleeing devastation – whether floods in Bangladesh or war in Syria. The images of desperate parents holding on to their children, trying to get them through barbed wired fences, or off small in... Read more >

  • The Story of Greenpeace & the story Greenpeace tells

    Blogpost by Brian Fitzgerald - September 21, 2015 at 9:15

    The documentary film How To Change the World has just splashed out on cinema screens in nine countries. [Showing in New Zealand this week.] It is by far the best telling of the origin story of Greenpeace I've ever seen, and I've seen a few. As someone who has been with the organisation since 1982 – nearly three quarters of Greenpeace's life and more than half of my own, I've been reflecting on what's different and what's unchanged today from the organisation I joined. To answer that, I have to begin at the beginning.

    Warriors of the Rainbow Book CoverIt was the winter of 1980. I was living in a cabin in the woods with no electricity, no running water, no TV. WiFi and internet were yet to be invented. The snow had been piling up for weeks, and what was normally a couple hour's hike to the nearest town and back could no lo... Read more >

  • Fuel slick hundreds of miles from land

    Blogpost by Andrew Davies - September 18, 2015 at 11:53

    My dawn lookout watch was going well. Strong, fresh breeze coming almost straight at us. Spotted a few flying fish. In the distance, an area of flatter water. Odd. Maybe a patch with less wind? Then, faintly at first, a whiff of diesel fuel.

    I ran and grabbed Maite, an experienced deckhand. “Quickly, come to the bow. We need to check something”. At first she was skeptical, not smelling anything. Then she pointed, “Oh no, look at this”. Ahead of us was a rainbow coloured fuel slick, probably over 200 square meters of it, out in the middle of the ocean.

    Paul Hilton /GREENPEACE

    Using fish holds as fuel tanks

    Just yesterday, Lauren (a food blogger who sailed with us on the first leg of this trip) shared the story that some tuna fishing ships allegedly store both fuel and fish in the same hold (flushing it with se... Read more >

  • Nauru calling for overhaul of Pacific fisheries following Greenpeace bust

    Blogpost by Kate Simcock - September 18, 2015 at 11:51

    Today Nauru became the third Pacific Island State to stand up for conservation and ban transshipping in its waters.  That’s a big stand for the smallest state in the South Pacific, especially in the face of significant pressure from the many foreign fishing fleets sniffing around and competing for fish.  

    It’s definitely worth celebrating. 

    In you and me speak, transshipping is when tonnes of frozen fish are transferred between boats – usually from a longliner to a big refrigerated mothership, which then takes the fish away for processing, so the longliner can keep on fishing. 

    It can be convenient, but it’s also an easy way to take the transparency out of tuna fishing and allow companies to get around the law.  

    Sometimes the motherships also provide the longliners with fuel and food. ... Read more >

  • Paul Hilton has watched countless sharks have the fins sliced from their bodies, some of them still alive and left to suffer an excruciating death.

    The thought almost brings him to tears.

    The conservation photojournalist is on board the Rainbow Warrior on its Pacific tour to document the out of control tuna fishing industry, that is not only leading to a scary decline in tuna stocks, but contributes to hundreds of thousands of sharks being killed for their fins every year.

    Paul has dedicated the last decade of his life to investigating and exposing this cruel industry in an effort to give the apex predators one more shot.

    But with some shark species down by as much as 90%, time is running out.

    “Sharks basically regulate the world’s oceans,” says Paul. “If they die, we’re in big trouble... Read more >

  • FADs – Floating Atoll Destroyers

    Blogpost by Dr. Cat Dorey - September 18, 2015 at 9:19

    The remote island atolls of St François and Farquhar are part of the Alphonse and Farquhar outer island groups in the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Like most of the Seychelles, these atolls are important nesting sites for sea birds and sea turtles, and are surrounded by some of the world's healthiest and most intact coral reefs. There is a small settlement on Farquhar atoll, but St François has no human inhabitants.

    In my mind, coral atolls like these have embodied a tropical paradise, untouched by human hand. How wrong could I be? When I went to the Seychelles last year, I discovered that even in these remote places the tuna industry is causing trouble.

    Yep, it's those FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices ) again, although I know a few less flattering acronyms to describe them!... Read more >

  • Reality check required on world's forests

    Blogpost by Greg Norman - September 17, 2015 at 14:34

    Such is the gap between World Forestry Congresses (5 years) that it prompted one of the facilitators to describe it as the forestry sector's Olympics and World Cup rolled into one.

    Taking place in Durban last week, the United Nations-funded event brings together politicians, scientists, civil society and other experts. This, the 14th iteration, is very much trying to create an air of positivity with regards to how we manage and protect the planet's forested area.

    Tree in DRC Rainforest. 15 Mar, 2008 © Thomas Einberger / argum / Greenpeace

    Drawing on the official event slogan of "Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future" proceedings opened with much fanfare and the headline findings from a report sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that claims the rate at which we are losing forests globally has halved in the last 25 years. The... Read more >

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