Victory! Australia calls for moratorium on unregulated bottom trawling

Feature story - 22 September, 2006
Reminiscent of their performance in the World Cup Football, Australia also made a great move in our very own Oceans World Cup and today joined the Deep-Sea Defenders. After receiving over 32,000 emails sent from our Ocean Defenders around the world, Australia is calling on the UN to establish a time-out on destructive high seas bottom trawling. If only the EU Commission would do the same...

Greenpeace activists block the trawl ramp of Belize flagged Chinese bottom trawler Chang Xing in Port Nelson, New Zealand.

Following three years of calls for urgent action, the United Nations General Assembly will finally begin negotiating measures to protect marine life in the deep-sea on 4-5 October leading to a formal adoption in November. A number of countries have already voiced their support for a UN Moratorium including Brazil, Chile, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu in the Pacific.

Wiping out unknown worlds

Bottomtrawling is widely recognized as the most destructive of fishingmethods.  Heavily weighted bottom trawls are indiscriminate andscour and devour everything in their path  including species thatare not even known to science. It's like  driving a huge bulldozerthrough an unexplored, lush and richly  populated forest and beingleft with a flat, featureless desert.

Countries, scientists, Ocean Defenders, and the UN

Inaddition to Ocean Defenders,  the many countries calling fora  moratorium, other non-government organisations, over 1500scientists,  and the UN itself have expressed the need for amoratorium on this  practice before it's too late.  Here'sthe play by play:

Highseas bottom trawling represents only one percent of the world'sannual  global fishery catch. The European Union represents around60 percent of the  300 or so vessels engaged in bottom trawlingworldwide: Spain has the largest fleet.

What's the EU position? Good question.

Whilethe European Commission dosen't qualify for a "national team" they seemto be acting as a bad referee kicking the ball to the Destroyers teamwhich is lead by Spain. Our EU Marine Policy Director, Saskia Richartz,explains who's still  on the side of the Deep-Sea Destroyers:

"Spainand the European Commission, are still siding with a small  sectorof the industry that supports this fishing method and holding the EUposition hostage. It is time for them to protect  the interest ofthe oceans and the environment instead of the vested interests of ahandful of fishing fleets. They must urgently agree a common positionto support the call for a UN moratorium."

With Australia'sstrong move, eyes are turning towards New Zealand.   OurOceans Campaigner in New Zealand, Mike Hagler, hopes that New Zealandwill follow Australia's lead. "Greenpeace expects that New Zealand willjoin Palau, Australia and the rest of the countries of the Pacific inleading the world to a strong policy outcome at the UN next month," hesaid.

Stop the Clock!

Find out which countries have "stopped the clock" and called for a timeout on high seas bottom trawling

Sign up as an Ocean Defender

And help us pressure the last few countries to become Deep Sea Defenders