Foodtown costing us our oceans
Foodtown costing us our oceans
It was sad to see the Seamount Explorer leave the port of Auckland this afternoon. Police had removed our activists from the vessel as they tried to prevent it from leaving port on its destructive business. The Seamount Explorer would be more accurately named the Seamount Destroyer - it uses a heavy bottom trawl net which lays waste to the seabed as it fishes for orange roughy and other deep sea species. It is now on its way to destroy the delicate marine environments on the seafloor in seach of orange roughy to be sold on the shelves at Foodtown.

Bottom trawling is one of the most destructive forms of fishing. A landmark study published this month identified a ban on bottom trawling as an urgent step to halt the biodiversity crisis now happening in the Oceania region. Orange roughy is just one of the casualties - with three of New Zealand's eight stocks fished to collapse already. Bottom trawl nets used to catch it bulldoze the seabed and rip up corals that are hundreds of years old. Greenpeace put together a video showing the destruction that bottom trawling causes, and is calling on countries the world over to put an end to this ocean destruction.

A hosing
A hosing
Our activists were able to stop the Seamount Explorer from leaving port for a couple of hours, and would have liked to stop it for much longer.  However, as it inevitably would, the vessel headed out to sea in search of the ever diminishing orange roughy. The fish they catch may well end up in the seafood section of your local supermarket. This brings home how crucial it is for our supermarkets to adopt sustainable seafood policies and remove species like orange roughy from their shelves. If the demand falls off the fishing will stop. You can help make this happen by calling on Foodtown and other New Zealand supermarkets to adopt such a policy, so that you can be sure the seafood they sell is truly sustainable.

Greenpeace has been in contact with both our main supermarket chains for over a year now and has asked them to adopt sustainable seafood policies and stop selling species from the Greenpeace Seafood Red List. Until they do so, they are part of the problem - when they could be part of the solution. Many supermarkets in Europe and North America have already taken such action, and far from hurting their profits, they are benefiting from the consumer demand for sustainable seafood. Waitrose, which does not stock orange roughy, hoki or other species caught by bottom trawling, recently explained that they have seen a marked increase in their seafood sales and gained a greater market share, because they have high environmental standards and can assure their consumers that all the seafood on sale in their stores is sustainable.

As we packed up at the wharf to head back to the Greenpeace office, I looked down and saw a tiny john dory in a pile of melting ice that had been shoveled onto the wharf. The little thing was smaller than the palm of my hand, and to me it summed up the destruction being wrought on our oceans by unsustainable fishing practices, the need for supermarkets to take responsibility, and ultimately, the reason why I am an oceans campaigner.