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Government Talks While Precious Areas Destroyed

14 June 2005

Government Talks While Precious Areas Are Destroyed

Tasman Sea, Tuesday 14 June 2005: The Government's announcement today that Chile will join Australia and New Zealand in discussions on a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation is not the urgent solution needed on bottom trawling, says Greenpeace.

“These talks are not new - they've been going on for 15 years,” said Carmen Gravatt oceans campaigner for Greenpeace.

She said the New Zealand Government had taken the last 15 years to get this far. By the time they actually come to an agreement more precious areas will be destroyed.

“Without a moratorium on bottom trawling, it's in the fishing industry's interests to lobby and drag out these talks for many years to come. This way, the industry can continue its bottom trawling on the high seas where there are no rules.”

”If the Government is seriously interested in preserving biodiversity, they should advocate to get a UN moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters in place while these talks continue. This will ensure there is both fish and other deep sea life left at the end of the talks.”

"It will keep the bottom trawlers away while scientists investigate what exists in these deep sea areas and agreement can be reached over what areas need protection, what can be fished and what fishing method might be acceptable.”

Last weekend, Greenpeace found the New Zealand vessel the Waipori hauling up ancient corals from the deep sea floor in international waters near Norfolk Island. This was in a region known to be one of the planet's “biodiversity hotspots”.

“If it was on land, this area would be protected as a National Park”, said Ms Gravatt. “Why sacrifice areas like this to destructive bottom trawlers while politicians and bureaucrats continue talkfests over management?”

ENDS

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