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Nationwide bottom trawling roadshow ends in Wgtn

Greenpeace’s nationwide bottom trawling roadshow ends in Wellington

Tuesday 1st November 2005: Wellington’s the final town to hear first hand of the devastating impacts of bottom trawling for orange roughy and other deep sea species from Greenpeace.

In June this year, on the international waters of the Tasman Sea, the Rainbow Warrior crew filmed as a 500-year-old, tree-sized coral was dumped after being dragged up from the deep sea from a kiwi bottom trawler.

The Warrior’s voyage was part of Greenpeace’s international campaign against the world’s most destructive fishing practice, bottom trawling.

During their three weeks at sea, the crew witnessed 60-80% of bottom trawl catches being thrown away because they weren’t orange roughy. “When we have such stark evidence, we’re asking our Government ‘How much more proof do you need?’” says oceans campaigner Malcolm Wren.

Greenpeace has taken the images of this and information about bottom trawling on an 11-town New Zealand tour.

“The people of New Zealand need to know what our fishing industry is doing out in international waters,” said Wren.

The Greenpeace campaign crew will be in Wellington on Tuesday1st and Wednesday 2nd of November with an information stall on Cuba Mall. People can meet the Greenpeace crew, learn about bottom trawling and send a postcard expressing their concerns to the Prime Minister.

Three Greenpeace spokespeople will give a slideshow presentation on Tuesday evening at the People’s Resource Centre, Lukes Lane at 7.30. Speakers include Gisborne-born Gareth Hughes who sailed on the Rainbow Warrior in June. Media are most welcome.

“We know there’s people all over the country that have worked on deep sea bottom trawlers. Some have contacted us to encourage our work and to tell us the fishing industry are lying when they say their nets don’t touch the sea floor. We’re particularly interested in meeting people who’ve worked on bottom trawlers to tell us about their experiences and what they’ve seen”, said Mr Wren.

The tour is part of a national and international campaign to get a UN moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters. At the moment there are virtually no rules for fishing in international waters. A moratorium is a short-term ban. This would act to get bottom trawlers away from sensitive deep sea areas so scientists can study these unknown worlds, and act as an incentive for the fishing industry to find less destructive ways to fish.

The nationwide tour coincides with the lead up to a UN General Assembly meeting in New York where there will be New Zealand Government representatives in attendance.

There is an interactive weblog that has followed the tour that provides all the information about the impacts of bottom trawling and what can be done to protect deep sea life – visit www.greenpeace.org.nz

ENDS

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