Taken by a fisheries observer on board a NZ bottom trawler NW of New Zealand, this photo shows a giant piece of gorgonian coral being hoisted out of a bottom trawl net. (Note more coral in the net). Coral this size is estimated to be more than 500 years old.
As the EU, Russia, and South Korea sink a bottom-trawling protection plan at a key meeting in Hobart, we are now focusing our watchful eyes on the UN. In the next few weeks the world's governments have an opportunity to declare a moratorium on unregulated high seas bottom trawling, or send us towards a future where seafood is gone by 2048. Bottom trawling: EU, Russia, South Korea and Canada - the world is watching you.
We been campaigning for a moratorium on bottom trawling for three years. Our supporters and Ocean Defenders have been behind us all the way. This year alone we have delivered over 200000 emails, letters and postcards to the decision-makers around the planet. Over 1500 marine scientists have signed a petition for the world to act and together with you we have managed to shift a majority of the world's governments to support the moratorium.
It is looking good for the deep-sea life?
Not exactly. This week's meeting in Hobart, Australia, should have decided to protect the irreplaceable ecosystems of the deep-sea bed from the relentless march of bottom trawlers. Instead, stubborn opposition from South Korea, Russia and the EU repeatedly blocked proposals supported by Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Pacific Island States and the United States which aimed to protect deep sea life from bottom trawling.
The fishing nations of the North stopped the protection of a far-away place in the South Pacific. This goes to show that if left to decide for themselves, Fisheries meetings like this will never deliver effective and fast protection to ocean life. The UN needs to intervene.
Doomsday data - no seafood by 2048?
To show what is at stake here, have a read of this article that was published just last week in the journal Science. Esteemed Canadian marine biologist Boris Worm published a landmark paper. He reported that human activities, such as destructive fishing practices, have resulted in plummeting catches of wild fish, with projections of a global collapse of all commercial fish and seafood species by 2048 if things continue as at present. The good news is that data suggest that this trend is still reversible - if we act now.
So in the next few weeks the world's governments could take the first and comprehensive step towards reversing this trend of decline. By protecting the high seas from destructive and unsustainable bottom trawling the world would be taking a big step towards protecting biodiversity and the habitats that fish depend on. The moratorium would be the first step needed towards the establishment of a network of marine reserves - no take areas- that the Worm study has highlighted as a solution to reverse the 2048 scenario.
Next week the UN begins negotiations on a moratorium for high-seas bottom trawling. Such a moratorium would constitute the single largest act of habitat protection in human history, covering an estimated 67 million square miles of ocean, an area larger than all of the world's continents combined.
At the moment, the EU -- under the influence of Spain -- as well as Canada are opposed to this. Let them know the world will be watching as they set our course for 2048 … will they choose sustainability, or simply salty water?
Send this letter telling Canada to be an Ocean Defender, not an Ocean Destroyer!
Support Greenpeace campaigns