The 45 metre Seamount Explorer has been blockaded by activists
in life rafts, who have locked themselves to a chain encircling the
ship. Banners are being held up saying: "Foodtown - costing us our
oceans". Another two activists have locked themselves to the
structure of the ship and fishermen onboard have responded by
turning high pressure hoses on them.
Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas said the
peaceful direct action was part of a continuing campaign to save
New Zealand seas from overfishing and destructive fishing
practices. In May this year, Greenpeace released the report While
Stocks Last - Supermarkets and the Future of Seafood (2) outlining
the link between seafood retailers, consumers and the fishing
"We're taking action today to highlight how Foodtown and other
supermarkets are fuelling a demand for unsustainable seafood caught
using destructive fishing methods like bottom trawling."
New Zealand's supermarkets are run by two companies, Progressive
Enterprises (the owners of Foodtown) and Foodstuffs, putting these
companies in a powerful position to affect change, she said.
Supermarkets in North America and Europe, which had adopted
sustainable seafood policies, were taking New Zealand-caught
species like orange roughy and hoki off their shelves as it failed
to meet sustainability standards.
Last month United Kingdom supermarket Waitrose confirmed it
refused to stock New Zealand caught hoki, despite its
sustainability accreditation by the Marine Stewardship Council, as
it was caught by bottom trawling. (3) It removed New Zealand orange
roughy from its stocks in 2005 for the same reason.
"Despite continued encouragement our supermarkets have not yet
chosen to help protect our fisheries, our fishing industry, the
marine environment or New Zealand's clean, green reputation.
"Foodtown and other supermarkets have a responsibility to
safeguard our fisheries both environmentally and economically. They
need to send a strong message to the fishing industry that they
will only stock seafood which is truly sustainable and harvested
using methods which are not destructive to the marine
Thomas said the Seamount Explorer, owned by Anton's Seafoods
Ltd, was the target of the action as, at this time of year, it was
fishing for orange roughy which was under serious threat from
unsustainable fishing. Three New Zealand orange roughy fisheries
have been fished to collapse and closed - the most recent in
"Foodtown is supporting vessels like this to harvest orange
roughy by bottom trawling, one of the most unsustainable catch
methods that destroys everything in its path including fragile deep
sea ecosystems and centuries-old coral - it's the equivalent to
clear-felling our native forests."
Orange roughy is at the top of the Greenpeace Red List of 12
species of commercially caught seafood which should be avoided due
to sustainability issues and destructive fishing methods. (4)
Greenpeace is also calling for a network of fully-protected
marine reserves covering 40 per cent of the world's oceans to
safeguard them against the ravages of climate change, restore the
health of fish stocks, and protect ocean life from habitat
destruction and collapse.
Karli Thomas, Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner, 021 905 582
Phil Crawford, Greenpeace New Zealand communications officer, 021 2299 594
Notes: (1) http://www.greenpeace.org/international/seafood/changing-your-business/model-policy
Photos from the action will be available on the Greenpeace media gallery
Exp. contact date: 2010-11-06 00:00:00