Sigourney Weaver and the US: calling for an end to bottom trawling

Feature story - 4 October, 2006
Actress Sigourney Weaver, star of Alien and Ghostbusters, has joined us at the UN in New York calling for a moratorium on high- seas bottom trawling. Adding more weight to Team Ocean Defenders, the US government has also been supportive. George W. Bush himself issued a statement calling for an “end [to] destructive fishing practices, such as unregulated bottom trawling”. This week’s UN meeting may be our last chance for real action to save the “aliens of the deep”.

Sigourney Weaver at the UN Press Briefing in New York demonstrates the state of the sea bed before and after a bottom trawl.

Actress and activist Sigourney Weaver showed her support at the UN press briefing held to promote a resolution on high-seas bottom trawling.

Actress and activist Sigourney Weaver at the UN press briefing on high-seas bottom trawling. (Left to Right) H.E. Mr. Robert Hill Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Ms. Rosemary Banks Ambassador to New Zealand, Karen Sack Greenpeace International Oceans Policy Advisor, H.E. Mr. Stuart Ambassador to Palau, Ms. Sigourney Weaver, Dr. Ellen Pikitch Exec. Dir., Pew Institute for Ocean Science, Ms. Lisa Speer Natural Resources Defense Council

Actress and activist Sigourney Weaver speaks at the UN press briefing held to promote a resolution on high-seas bottom trawling.

Ms Weaver said, "The oceans that millions of people around the world depend on for sustenance and livelihood are being plundered while the world sits by and watches. Some of the oldest ecosystems on Earth are being destroyed.  Most people think somebody somewhere is looking out for the deep oceans, but they aren't. These deep sea trawlers are operating beyond the reach of the law. It's up to all of us to change that."

Sigourney Weaver joined us at a press briefing in New York organised by the  Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, of which we are members.  We were also joined by the UN Ambassadors from Australia, New Zealand and Palau.

Aliens (of the Deep)

They might not be quite as scary as the Aliens in one of Sigourney's movies, but the deep sea creatures threatened by bottom  trawling are unique and often previously unknown to science.

Karen Sack, our political advisor, said, "The UN has the power to protect the irreplaceable ecosystems of the deep sea bed from the  relentless march of bottom trawlers. If it fails to act, it would  be closing its eyes and allowing these unknown worlds to be  destroyed before we fully understand all the life they contain-like blowing up Mars before we get there."

Galaxy Quest

Can Team Ocean Defenders save these unknown worlds?  Australia, Brazil, the  UK, South Africa, Chile,  the  Netherlands, Germany and many Pacific Island nations are among  those that have called for a halt to unregulated high seas bottom  trawling.  Canada, Spain, Russia and Iceland lead the opposition.

This week the US became deep-sea defenders.  President Bush issued a  statementcalling for rules based on sound  science to  "end destructive fishingpractices such such as  unregulated bottom trawling, explosives andchemicals that destroy  the long-term productivity of ecosystems suchas seamounts, corals,  and sponge fields". The US will be chairing thenegotiations which commence at the UN today -  October 4th.

The Year of Living Dangerously

Earlier this year we released a report calling for the establishment of 40 percent of the world's oceans as marine reserves.  Since then the UN itself recognised the need for a halt to unregulated high seas bottom trawling. Meanwhile, as the  UN talks, the bottom trawling continues.  We hopethat this week  the UN will decide to implement a moratorium on highseas bottom  trawling and pave a way for a worldwide network of fullyprotected marine reserves.

Working Girl

Read updates straight from the UN as our own hard-working girl,  political advisor Karen Sack, will report in our political blog as soon as more news comes to hand.

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