Lisbon, Portugal – Greenpeace International activists have attempted to place large placards outside the Altice Arena where the UN Ocean Conference is being held in Lisbon this week. The placards, which show sharks being killed by political inaction and read “Strong Ocean Treaty now”, were meant to send a clear message to assembled leaders that while they pay lip service to meaningful protection in Lisbon, the ocean crisis deepens. However, the activists were stopped by police. Instead, the activists displayed large banners outside the arena reading “Strong global ocean treaty now!” and “Protege os Oceanos”. Photo and video is available at Greenpeace Media Library.

Laura Meller[1] of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign said:

“Our leaders are failing to deliver on their promise to protect the oceans. While governments continue to say fine words about ocean protection, like they’re doing here in Lisbon, millions of sharks are killed every year by vessels from the European Union. The world must see through their hypocrisy.

“Leaders like EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius have repeatedly promised to deliver an ambitious Global Ocean Treaty and protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Even the UN secretary general António Guterres said we are facing an ocean emergency.  The Treaty needs to be finalised in August, we don’t need more time to discuss how to protect the oceans, we need to get ocean protection done.” 

As governments delay meaningful action to protect the ocean, people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. Marine biodiversity loss hinders the ocean’s ability to provide food for millions of people. Shark populations have declined by 70% globally in the last 50 years. The number of sharks being landed by EU vessels tripled between 2002 and 2014. Approximately 13 million sharks were killed by EU vessels between 2000 and 2012. Sharks are apex predators and vital for the health of marine ecosystems. 

Lisbon is the last major political moment before the final Global Ocean Treaty negotiations in August 2022. 49 governments, including the EU and its 27 member states, have committed to finalising an ambitious Treaty in 2022. 

Without a strong Global Ocean Treaty this year, it will be nearly impossible to protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. This is what scientists say is the absolute minimum required to give the oceans space to recover from centuries of human exploitation. Currently, less than 3% of the oceans are protected.



In Lisbon: Julia Zanolli, Global Communications Lead, Greenpeace UK, [email protected], +44 7971 769 107

Remote: James Hanson, Global Media Lead, Greenpeace UK, [email protected], +44 7801 212 994

Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], +31 20 718 2470 (24 hours) . Follow @greenpeacepress on Twitter for our latest international press releases


[1] Laura Meller is an oceans campaigner and polar advisor at Greenpeace Nordic.