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World Enviro Day Focus On Greatest Deep Sea Threat

5 JUNE 2004

World Environment Day focus on greatest deep sea threat: Bottom Trawling

International waters near New Zealand, Saturday 5 June 2004: Calls for deep sea protection from the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior II on World Environment Day urge us not to put life in the deep sea out of mind, because it is out of sight. The call comes before next week's UN conference in New York (1) which will make crucial decisions on the biggest threat to the deep sea: bottom trawl fishing.

World Environment Day is commemorated each year on 5 June and the theme selected by the UN for 2004 is keeping our oceans and seas healthy and alive.

"Greenpeace urges delegates at the UN New York meeting next week to do something for the oceans and take urgent steps for a moratorium on deep sea bottom trawling on the high seas before the end of the year," said oceans campaigner Carmen Gravatt on board the Rainbow Warrior. Over one thousand marine scientists have jointly made a similar call identifying bottom trawling as the biggest threat to deep sea biodiversity.

The Rainbow Warrior left Auckland two weeks ago for waters around New Zealand and is aiming to investigate and document bottom trawl fishing practices. It is part of an international campaign to protect deep sea life from the impacts of bottom trawling.

Until recently, many believed that there was little life in the deep ocean, but new technologies have changed that, showing instead that the deep sea is one of the great reservoirs of biodiversity on the planet. "The deep seas are the last great unknown places on Earth. We're running out of time - we don't want another round of UN talk-fests. We want real commitments and real action to save our seas."

For media inquiries please contact: Land-based Oceans Campaigner Vanessa Atkinson 021 565 165 Communications Officer Dean Baigent-Mercer 021 790 817

Notes to editors:

1. UN policy makers are meeting for the 'United Nations Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea' (UNICPOLOS) in New York from 7-11 June 2004, which is convened annually under the auspices of the UN Division of Oceans and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) to discuss the most pressing global oceans policy issues as highlighted in the UNGA Resolution on Oceans and the Law of the Sea and at the request of the Secretary General. This year, the topic is: "new and sustainable uses of the oceans, including the conservation and management of the biological diversity of the seabed in areas beyond national jurisdiction; as well as issues discussed at previous meetings."

GREENPEACE AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND http://www.greenpeace.org.nz +64 09 630 6317 0800 22 33 44

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