Greenpeace activists blockade trawler
Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas said the
activists had drawn attention to an issue which impacted on seafood
consumers and the New Zealand economy.
"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 caught using
methods which are not destructive to the marine environment.
"We've made our point that New Zealand's oceans are being
destroyed and Foodtown and other seafood retailers have the power
to help put a stop to it.
Before police arrived fishermen on the vessel attempted to deter
the activists with high pressure hoses and grabbed a 20 metre
banner which read 'Foodtown costing us our oceans' as activists
aboard an inflatable attempted to attach it to the side of the
Three activists were arrested by police 90 minutes after
boarding the Seamount Explorer, as it was getting to ready to leave
the Brigham St wharf in Westhaven. Two of the activists who had
locked themselves to the ships structure were cut free by police
using bolt cutters
Four other activists in two life rafts which were attached to a
heavy cordon chaining the 45 metre trawler to the wharf were also
removed by police but were not charged. Even while police were
cutting them free they held up banners reading 'Foodtown costing us
our oceans' and 'Stop bottom trawling.'
Thomas said the Greenpeace had taken action to highlight how
Foodtown and other supermarkets were fuelling a demand for
unsustainable seafood caught using destructive fishing methods like
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 the
fisheries failed to meet their sustainability standards.
"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.
Instead, they continue to be part of the problem.
"Foodtown is supporting vessels like this to harvest orange
roughy by bottom trawling, one of the most destructive catch
methods that wipes out 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.
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.
Other contacts: 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 available on the Greenpeace media gallery
Exp. contact date: 2009-09-07 00:00:00