A coalition of environmental and fishing groups will this morning renew their call for bottom trawling to be banned on seamounts, as they present to the Environment Select Committee in Wellington.

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), which is made up of organisations such as Greenpeace, Forest & Bird, WWF, ECO and LegaSea, will address the Committee with evidence from a new report: Save deep sea corals.

The report highlights what could be lost if New Zealand fails to stop bottom trawling on seamount ecosystems, and how much there is still to discover in the deep sea. It references 128 species new to science that have been identified in Aotearoa in the past three years from fishery bycatch. 

The report also details that New Zealand is the only country still trawling seamounts in the South Pacific high seas, and that all the companies authorised to do so have been recently convicted for illegal trawling in closed areas.

The DSCC’s Karli Thomas, report co-author who will present at the Environment Select Committee this morning, says it’s time the Government stepped in to protect ocean health from bottom trawling destruction.

“We are rapidly running out of time to protect the ocean for the future. Seamounts underpin the health of the sea, supporting creatures from juvenile fish right up to whales,” she says.

“Recent studies have also found that trawling releases stored carbon from the seabed. In  a world facing a twin extinction and climate crisis, this form of fishing is indefensible.

“Bottom trawlers are destroying creatures that scientists haven’t even had a chance to discover yet, and that’s a pretty sad sign of what’s being prioritised here. 

“We know the ocean is in trouble, every new report shows we must protect it better if we want to keep it healthy. In this case there is a simple solution: ban bottom trawling from sensitive habitats.”

The DSCC, supported by more than 50,000 New Zealanders, is calling on the New Zealand Government to ban bottom trawling on seamounts.

You can watch the Environment Select Committee proceedings livestreamed on Facebook from 9.20am here:

NZ trawler dumps huge coral bottom trawling
PETITION: Ban bottom trawling on seamounts

Join the call to demand that the NZ Govt bans bottom trawling on seamounts and similar deep sea features, and stop issuing permits for bottom trawling in international waters.

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