Montevideo, Uruguay – Greenpeace Andino activists protested today against the lack of regulation for the fishing industry in the South Atlantic by displaying a 25 meter-long banner in the port of Montevideo, Uruguay, with the message “Ocean Looters”. The port regularly hosts vessels that fish in the unregulated waters beyond Argentina’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), including some reportedly with a history of illegal fishing.
Speaking from Montevideo, Luisina Vueso, from the Protect the Oceans campaign, said: “The lack of control and regulations are leaving the ocean on the verge of collapse. In the south-west Atlantic alone, over 400 fishing vessels arrive each year to empty its seas. The fishing industry operates far from sight and scrutiny in these waters, putting this special place at risk”.
The protest also marks the launch of the Greenpeace Andino report The Wild West Atlantic: The impact of overfishing in the south-west Atlantic ocean, which exposes the impacts of the fishing industry in the area.
The report highlights the threats of overfishing to a place known as the Blue Hole, 1,333 kilometers (720 nautical miles) south off Montevideo, which is home to unique ecosystems and iconic wildlife, like the southern right whale, and other species that are classified as vulnerable, like the sperm whale. The Blue Hole is reported to be one of the areas of international waters most exploited by bottom trawling, where vessels, plough the seafloor and indiscriminately destroy marine life.
“We urgently need to create fully protected areas for critical ecosystems, like The Blue Hole, that are vital to the health of our oceans. We can not stand by as these vessels threaten this amazing ecosystem: a migratory route, and key nursery, breeding and feeding area for more than 40 species with populations at risk,” said Luisina. Greenpeace is calling for a Global Ocean Treaty to be adopted at the United Nations, that would enable the creation of a network of ocean sanctuaries in international waters, free from industrial human activity.
Photo and video:
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Download The Wild West Atlantic: The impact of overfishing in the south-west Atlantic ocean here
Pole to Pole Expedition: Greenpeace is sailing from the Arctic to the Antarctic, undertaking research and investigations to highlight threats facing the oceans, and to campaign for a Global Ocean Treaty covering all seas outside of national waters. Map of the ‘Pole to Pole’ route. See contacts below for expedition enquiries, including for media interested in joining the ship on-board.
Luisina Vueso is an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace Andino
Julia Zanolli, Global Media Lead for the Protect the Oceans campaign, Greenpeace UK: [email protected], +44 07971 769107
Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)