Draw attention to the Deep

Feature story - 26 September, 2005
Life forms we haven't even seen yet are under threat by wasteful deep sea bottom trawling practices. Every week the bottom trawling continues, fragile environments we are just beginning to understand are being wiped out. Demand change now (and express yourself at the same time) by creating your own deep sea life e-card.

Design your own deep sea creature e-card and help stop high seas bottom trawling before its too late.

We'll help you send it to Ben Bradshaw and Joe Borg, two men who havethe opportunity to champion the high seas at the UN General Assemblyand give our deep sea life a fighting chance.

We are just starting to understand the complex and mysteriousecosystems of the deep seas. Ninety percent of the potential 10 milliondeep sea species live in, on or just above the sea floor. Oftenexisting beyond the reach of sunlight, many life forms are slowto grow and mature. Eight-thousand-year-old cold-water corals can riseup to 35 metres, providing protection and spawning grounds for countless organisms not yet seen by humans.

High seas bottom trawling targeting single species can devastate entire ecosystems in its wake. Nets thesize of football pitches drag up to 30 tonnes of trawl gear, ploughingthrough approximately 12 square kilometres of sea bed every 24 hours.

Nets are filled with bycatch --coral, sponges, crustaceans, undersized fish, fish of the wrong species etc --all dumped back into the sea, dead or dying. Vulnerableenvironments that took thousands of years to evolve can be destroyed ina matter of hours.

Hitplay on the movie above to see what the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition has tosay about why we shouldn't eat the creatures of the deep.

During our recent visit to the North Atlantic, we observed 20 bottomtrawlers in the international waters 200 miles east of Canada over athree week period.

An estimated 60 percent of destructive high seas bottom trawling occursin this area, supposedly under the care of the Northwest AtlanticFisheries Organisation (NAFO).

"We witnessed example after example of bad management, overfishing, anddestruction of deep sea life and habitat from heavy fishing gear beingdragged over the seabed. We saw an indifference to the need to protectvulnerable and fragile ecosystems as well as suspect operators, such asthe Lootus II, which are linked to illegal fishing in other parts ofthe globe," said Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace International OceansCampaigner.

Discussions with skippers aboard shrimp trawlers revealed how theyget around time limits set on trawling by using bigger trawlers and upto four nets at a time. Oh and unsurprisingly, the skippers noticed theshrimp are getting smaller.

"We want a UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling now," saidMcDiarmid. "We need to force decision-makers to sort out themismanagement of deep sea fisheries and to give scientists thenecessary time to identify which vulnerable areas need protection fromthis destructive fishing practice" she said.

Let's show Ben Bradshaw -- of the UKDepartment of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Joe Borg --European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs what we mightbe missing out on. Click here to design a deep sea creaturee-card or use our pre-made one to get your message to the guys who canmake a difference.

Get drawing

Create your own creature-from-the-deep e-card at the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition website.

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