Draw attention to the Deep
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.
We’ll help you send it to Ben Bradshaw and Joe Borg, two men who have the opportunity to champion the high seas at the UN General Assembly and give our deep sea life a fighting chance.
We are just starting to understand the complex and mysterious ecosystems of the deep seas. Ninety percent of the potential 10 million deep sea species live in, on or just above the sea floor. Often existing beyond the reach of sunlight, many life forms are slow to grow and mature. Eight-thousand-year-old cold-water corals can rise up 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 the size of football pitches drag up to 30 tonnes of trawl gear, ploughing through 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. Vulnerable environments that took thousands of years to evolve can be destroyed in a matter of hours.
The Greenpeace vessel Esperanza is currently in Norwegian waters confronting destructive and potentially illegal bottom trawlers. Check out the ships blog to keep up with the action.
During our recent visit to the North Atlantic, we observed 20 bottom trawlers in the international waters 200 miles east of Canada over a three week period.
An estimated 60 percent of destructive high seas bottom trawling occurs in this area, supposedly under the care of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO).
"We witnessed example after example of bad management, overfishing, and destruction of deep sea life and habitat from heavy fishing gear being dragged over the seabed. We saw an indifference to the need to protect vulnerable and fragile ecosystems as well as suspect operators, such as the Lootus II, which are linked to illegal fishing in other parts of the globe," said Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner.
Discussions with skippers aboard shrimp trawlers revealed how they get around time limits set on trawling by using bigger trawlers and up to four nets at a time. Oh and unsurprisingly, the skippers noticed the shrimp are getting smaller.
"We want a UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling now," said McDiarmid. "We need to force decision-makers to sort out the mismanagement of deep sea fisheries and to give scientists the necessary time to identify which vulnerable areas need protection from this destructive fishing practice" she said.
Let’s show Ben Bradshaw -- of the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Joe Borg -- European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs what we might be missing out on. Click here to design a deep sea creature e-card or use our pre-made one to get your message to the guys who can make a difference.
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