Rainbow Warrior Bombing - Lest We Forget
26 May 2004, Matauri Bay, Far North: The crew of the Rainbow Warrior II paid tribute to her submerged predecessor in Matauri Bay, in the Far North today. As is tradition, the crew laid a wreath above the Rainbow Warrior, which was bombed in 1985 by the French Government at the height of Greenpeace's campaign against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.
Speaking on board the boat, Greenpeace New Zealand Campaign Manager, Bunny McDiarmid (1) said, "The Rainbow Warrior leaves Matauri Bay today to sail around the waters of New Zealand drawing attention to the destructive nature of bottom trawl fishing. Bottom trawling in the deep sea is like clear felling a virgin ancient forest".
Once thought to be void of life, scientists now estimate between 500,000 to 100,000,000 species live in the deep sea. Many of these species are situated around seamounts - underwater mountains.
"The deep sea is the last undiscovered frontier on the planet, but we may be destroying it before we know what is there. Over 1000 scientists have recently stated that bottom trawling is the greatest threat to deep sea life. The New Zealand fishing industry is a part of this deep sea destruction," she added.
In 2001 (2), 12 countries took approximately 95% of the reported high seas catch. New Zealand was one of those 12 countries (3).
"The New Zealand fleet, like others around the globe, has devastated one area after another and then moved onto new grounds in their quest for fish," said Greenpeace oceans campaigner, Carmen Gravatt on board the Rainbow Warrior.
The original Rainbow Warrior was scuttled in Matauri Bay where she now serves as a popular artificial reef for an abundance of fish and marine life. Ms Gravatt said that it was fitting for the two Rainbow Warriors to be protecting sea life in their own ways.
(1) Bunny McDiarmid was a crew member onboard the Rainbow Warrior in 1985. She had left the boat to go for dinner the night it was bombed. She is currently the Campaign Director for Greenpeace New Zealand.
(2) The last year that data was consistently available worldwide.
(3) Spain, France, Russia, Lithuania,
Latvia, Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Faroes Islands (Denmark),
Portugal, New Zealand and Japan.