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United Nations fails to protect deep sea life

United Nation General Assembly fails to protect deep sea life

New York, Tuesday 16th November: Deep sea life will not get the protection it needs from the United Nations today, despite calls from thousands of scientists, million of environmentalists and numerous countries attending today’s United Nations General Assembly debate.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, but the world’s governments have missed the opportunity to take one of the most significant steps to protect the rich life of the oceans.

Repeated calls for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling – the most destructive practice impacting deep sea life - have been ignored. Instead an international call from the Convention on Biological Diversity to the United Nations for urgent action has been watered down to a call for a review in two years time.

High seas bottom trawling literally ploughs up the ocean floor for relatively few fish and the fleets often target seamounts – the least explored mountains on the planet, that rise more than a 1,000 metres from the ocean floor. Seamounts are teeming with deep sea life, some of which is undiscovered by science and much is unique to individual seamounts.

“The interests of the few bottom trawling nations have won out over science and common sense,” said Greenpeace International policy advisor Karen Sack at the United Nations. “There are deep sea species that are still unknown to science and yet the commercial interests of a few are considered more important. Who knows how many of those species could be wiped out while the politicians sit back “reviewing”. Sack added.

Greenpeace has carried out two high seas expeditions this year to the Tasman Sea and the North Atlantic. On both trips the international environmental organisation documented the destruction of deep sea life – from ancient corals to deep sea shark species.


Greenpeace is a member of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, an international alliance of organisations, representing millions of people in countries around the world, which is calling for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.
Photo and video of deep sea destruction from high seas bottom trawling are available

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