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Amaltal Miss the Boat with Dodgy Legal Tactics

Amaltal Miss the Boat with Dodgy Legal Tactics

Thursday, 9 June 2005: After two successful days disrupting destructive bottom trawling, the Rainbow Warrior has headed off to find bottom trawlers from other nations, including Australia. The Rainbow Warrior had already steamed away from the Ocean Reward on its mission when Greenpeace received notice that Amaltal was going to apply for an injunction.

"The fact that companies like Amaltal are allowed to continue destroying our global marine heritage and wipe undiscovered species off the face of the planet, is completely outrageous. This highlights the urgent need for the international community to take action to protect deep sea life so that we don't have to," said Greenpeace campaigner, Carmen Gravatt.

"New Zealand is not the only country involved in bottom trawling in international waters. We are now taking the Rainbow Warrior further out into the high seas to look for other vessels to show the world the range of countries involved in deep sea destruction. The New Zealand vessel, the Ocean Reward, is fishing in an area where there is no fisheries management agreements in place and where we know that New Zealand-flagged vessels have in the past fished alongside vessel under flags of convenience," said Gravatt.

Meanwhile, fishing industry voices attempted to defend the world's most destructive fishing practise by claiming innocence for their weighted bottom trawl nets, saying they had little impact.

"The industry is being dishonest in its defence of bottom trawling. Bottom trawling is now considered by marine scientists to be the biggest threat to deep sea biodiversity and the UN last year called on States to take urgent action to address the impacts of destructive fishing such as bottom trawling."

In January this year the report of the Millennium Project's Task Force on Environmental Sustainability ? a UN Advisory group looking at how to achieve the Millennium Development Goals - recommends that "global fisheries authorities must agree to eliminate bottom trawling on the high seas by 2006 to protect seamounts and other ecologically sensitive habitats and to eliminate bottom trawling globally by 2010.

Right now the UN is discussing how to manage the world's oceans at a meeting in New York, and it is at this global level that we need action.

"The writing is on the wall, the science is leading the charge and grabbing at legal tactics will not change the fact that the days of high seas bottom trawling are numbered", concluded Gravatt.



*In fisheries for species such as orange roughy, which aggregate above seamounts, don't properly deployed bottom trawl nets only skims just above the seafloor to avoid damaging fishing gear?*

This claim is directly refuted by scientific studies that document high coral bycatch rates in orange roughy fisheries. In the first year of the orange roughy fishery on the Tasmanian Rise off New Zealand, observers estimated that 1.6 tons of coral were caught each hour, with over 10,000 tons of coral estimated to be caught in just one year. The tendency of schools of orange roughy to swim downward away from predators and fishing nets also increases the chance of net contact with the bottom as the net is further lowered to catch fish. If it were possible to avoid the bottom, fishermen would have no objection to eliminating rollers, rockhoppers, "canyon busters", and other gear which is specifically designed to enable contact with the seabed. But even if it were possible to completely avoid the bottom, there is no means of effectively enforcing such a practice on the high seas.

*Seafood Industry Council say Greenpeace have reported New Zealand bottom trawlers as being "good operators", is this true?*.

SeaFIC has completely taken the quote out of context and misrepresented our words.

*Is Greenpeace anti-fishing?*

No. We want people fishing for their livelihoods in hundreds of years time. The only way that will happen is if the industry is environmentally sustainable. But the very nature of bottom trawling means this is very unlikely. The collapse of the Atlantic Cod fishery of New Foundland in 1992 was because industrial bottom trawlers took too many fish and destroyed their habitat. Bottom trawling is the most destructive method of fishing in the world. That's why government's need to act to put in place a moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters, to give scientists time to study deep sea life.

We have taken action because the world's governments are failing to end the destruction.

*Has Amaltal threatened Greenpeace.*

The over-reaction from Talley's is just further proof that the fishing industry know that there are big problems with bottom trawling. They clearly don't want everyone to see just how unsustainable bottom trawling is ? which is why the Rainbow Warrior is out here now.

This isn't just about Talley's or the NZ fishing industry, it's about the destruction wreaked by bottom trawling on deep sea life and how governments worldwide are failing to protect the unknown worlds of the deep sea.

© Scoop Media

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