Claptrap substantiated

Feature story - 13 June, 2005
Last week Amaltal Fishing Company director Andrew Talley called Greenpeace assertions "unsubstantiated claptrap". But dramatic photos and footage taken by the Rainbow Warrior crew prove him and others supporting bottom trawling wrong.

Crewman on the New Zealand bottom trawler Waipori dump a large piece of 'Paragorgia' coral dredged from the deep sea in their net.

Greenpeace crew from the Rainbow Warrior captured images of endangeredblack and red corals being hauled aboard a New Zealand bottom trawlerin international waters near Norfolk Island. (Although the smallercorals looks red, it is the skeleton of the coral that is black. Thelarge red coral is a centuries-old gorgonian tree coral.)

Check out the action on video

"Again and again, we have caught the bottom trawling industryred-handed with the evidence of deep sea destruction in their nets. Howmany more pictures of clearfelled coral forests do governments need tosee before they recognise that a moratorium on bottom trawling ininternational waters is urgently needed?" said Carmen Gravatt,Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

"Fishing industry leaders scraped the bottom of the barrel last weekwhen they claimed bottom trawl nets didn't touch the sea floor. Well,once again we've got the proof," said Gravatt. "We'd like to see thefishing industry swallow their pride, realise that bottom trawling isnot sustainable and support our calls for a UN moratorium on bottomtrawling in international waters".

The nets of the Waipori, owned by the Tasman Pacific company, seemed tohave few fish but many pieces of the corals. Greenpeace filmed a rangeof bottom dwelling species that were also in the haul of the NewZealand vessel, including a rare crab.

The 2003 scientific NORFANZ expedition surveyed throughout this regionand identified it as a 'biodiversity hotspot'. It has been described asa marine 'Jurassic Park' - with ancient species that are the tuatara ofthe sea, as old as dinosaurs.

The New Zealand Government delegation at last week's UN meeting onoceans got the message and made strong moves to get governmentsglobally to take responsibility for the destruction of bottom trawlingin international waters.

For latest updates, check out the Rainbow Warrior weblog.

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Send a message to the Seafood Industry Council (SEAFIC) telling them to stop unsustainable bottom trawling.

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