Greenpeace Wants Moratorium On Bottom Trawling
September 26, 2006. Suva. Fiji Islands. A plea is being made to the Pacific Island Forum (PIF's) countries to take their cue from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Vanuatu in calling for the United Nations to establish an immediate moratorium on unregulated high seas bottom trawling by Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans team leader Nilesh Goundar.
Mr Goundar said other there is an expectation that other PIF's will follow their big brother Australia and their neighbours in leading the world to a strong policy outcome at the UN next month.
In welcoming Australia's announcement last week that it is calling for the United Nations to establish a moratorium on unregulated high seas bottom trawling Mr Goundar said Australia has joined other PIF’s calling for the same.
Following three years of calls for urgent action, the United Nations General Assembly will finally begin negotiating measures to protect marine life in the deep-sea on October 4-5 leading to a formal adoption in November. A number of countries have already voiced their support for a UN Moratorium and include Brazil, Chile, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu in the Pacific.
The UN General Assembly’s 61st session started on September 19 and ends on September 29.
Scientists have only just started to explore the complex world far beneath the surface of the oceans, discovering new species and ancient coral reefs wherever they look.
Mr Goundar said bottom trawling is widely
recognised as the most destructive of fishing methods.
“Heavily weighted bottom trawls are indiscriminate and scour and devour everything in their path. Their use has been compared to clear-cutting a rainforest in order to catch a few rabbits,” he said.
Additionally, more than 1,500 marine scientists from over 60 countries have signed a letter in support of an immediate UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.
"Greenpeace Australia Pacific is delighted that Australia has finally stopped prevaricating on the issue and come down in favour of a moratorium on bottom trawling. The Government is now clearly acknowledging the destructive environmental impacts of high seas bottom trawling on deep-sea life, the need for immediate action and the need for long-term protection and sustainable management," said Mr Goundar.