The international environmental group Greenpeace made an historic address to the United Nations General Assembly today and challenged the world’s governments to safeguard the future of the oceans.
On the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the
Law of the Sea, Greenpeace, speaking on behalf of a coalition of
environmentalists that represent tens of millions of people (1),
was invited to address the General Assembly - the first time the
environment group has been allowed to speak at such a session.
Environmentalists and scientists have been campaigning to ensure
the anniversary was marked with one of the most significant steps
to protect the rich life of the deep oceans - a moratorium on high
seas bottom trawling.
High seas bottom trawling literally ploughs up the ocean floor
for relatively few fish and the fleets often target seamounts - the
least explored mountains on the planet, that rise more than a 3,000
feet from the ocean floor. Seamounts are teeming with deep sea
life, some of which is undiscovered by science and much is unique
to individual seamounts.
However, the world's governments ignored scientific advice and
an international call from the Convention on Biological Diversity
to the United Nations for urgent action and instead have call for a
two year review of the problem.
Greenpeace International policy advisor Karen Sack, who spoke at
the United Nations General Assembly, condemned the resolution as
falling "far short of the comprehensive and immediate protection
that is so sorely needed to protect deep sea biodiversity - it is
time to stop calling for urgent consideration and actually take
(1) Greenpeace is a member of the Deep Sea Conservation
Coalition, an international alliance of organizations, representing
millions of people in countries around the world, which is calling
for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.
Photos and video of high seas
destruction from bottom trawling are available at: www.greenpeace.org/savedeepsealife.