Fishing industry's destructive practices used against peaceful protest
May 31, 2004 Nelson:
The response from the fishing industry this morning to a peaceful protest calling for the protection of deep sea life, was to kick and drag people and smash and destroy any cameras recording the event.
Greenpeace New Zealand along with members of the Motueka choir staged a non violent activity at the Orange Roughy Management Company headquarters in Nelson this morning. A net was draped over the building and the choir stood under the net singing and holding placards of creatures from the deep sea. "Deep sea destruction" was painted across the outside wall.
"Unfortunately the industry's reaction this morning to a peaceful protest was one of a bully", said Bunny McDiarmid of Greenpeace. "Instead of talking to us or asking us to leave they took the law into their own hands" she said.
Greenpeace is supporting the call for a UN moratorium on bottom trawling on the high seas. "Scientists consider bottom trawling to be the biggest threat to deep sea life and are warning of extinctions of creatures virtually unknown to scientists and whole habitats being wiped out", said McDiarmid. Bottom trawling on rich and productive areas such as seamounts in the high seas is not only taking the target fish but the nets and the heavy steel rollers that are used to weight the nets down are dragging along the sides of the seamounts and destroying whatever else is in its path.
"The call for a moratorium is not new to the industry - it is two years old. Only in December more than a 1,000 scientists from 60 countries, including NZ made an unprecedented statement calling for action recognising that bottom trawling on seamounts in the high seas is now of serious concern."
"The UN moratorium is the most responsible and reasonable response to bottom trawling on the high seas. It gives us time to assess what is down there and what protections may be needed, as well as whether bottom trawling is appropriate in some of these sensitive areas", McDiarmid said.