Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

EU Protects Deep Sea Life From Bottom Trawling, As New Science Shows Up NZ Industry Proposal

The European Union has agreed new measures to protect seamounts from bottom trawling, showing up the New Zealand government’s inaction on the issue, environment groups said today.

Meanwhile, a NIWA study released this week has revealed that there are 1,996 seamounts and features in New Zealand waters. A proposal is being pushed by industry that only recognises 7% of these seamounts, and would leave all the areas they currently trawl unprotected.

The EU had already banned bottom trawling altogether in waters deeper than 800m, and has now closed a further 16,000 square kilometres of the deep sea to bottom trawling in the Northeast Atlantic. While this is not yet full protection, it’s a far stronger protection regime than what the New Zealand government has undertaken.

“New Zealanders are keen to see our oceans better protected, but the government is dragging its heels. More than 80,000 people have now signed a petition calling for bottom trawling to be banned on all seamounts and features, and polling shows 79% support this,” said Karli Thomas of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (1).

“Earlier this year the government set up a forum to consider increased protection of the seabed and the EU’s new protections show us what’s possible when we heed the science - not just cobble together bits of the ocean that the industry doesn’t want to trawl” said Thomas.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The closures in four EU countries in the exclusive economic zones of Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. add an additional 87 areas where cold water coral reefs, aggregations of deep-sea sponges, sea pens and other deepwater habitats are known or likely to occur between 400 and 800 metres depth.

New science shows just under 2000 seamounts and features in NZ waters

Meanwhile, NIWA scientists have found that our waters contain an astounding 1996 seamounts and features - set out in a new study released this week. These provide habitat for slow-growing species like corals and sponges that, without protection, can be reduced to rubble by weighted bottom trawling nets.

“These new numbers show up Sealord’s “alternative facts” - the proposal it is touting only covers a tiny percentage of the seamounts and features in New Zealand waters. The industry’s campaign is designed to get the government to fall for a proposal that gives the appearance of protection, but in reality it’s pure greenwash,” said Greenpeace Aotearoa Oceans Campaigner, Ellie Hooper.

“If it went ahead, the Sealord proposal would allow its vessels to keep trawling everywhere they’re trawling now, plus some seamounts that haven’t been trawled for over a decade - where corals may be just beginning to recover.”

“As we watch the EU limit bottom trawling in its waters, here in Aotearoa, the fishing industry is pushing a “destruction as usual” proposal that would see trawling continue to wipe out deep sea life,” said Scott MacIndoe of recreational fisheries group LegaSea.

“We call on Fisheries Minister David Parker to ignore the spin by the fishing industry, and move to protect our precious ocean.”

“We have known for years that bottom trawling causes destruction of seafloor ecosystems that takes decades or centuries to recover from. It’s time to protect seamounts and the vulnerable deep sea life they support, and ban bottom trawling,” said Natalie Jessup of the Endangered Species Foundation.

 

(1) the Deep Sea Conservation Aotearoa is made up of Environment & Conservation Organisations (ECO), Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, LegaSea, Our Seas Our Future, Endangered Species Foundation and WWF-NZ.
 

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On National Spreading Panic About The Economy


The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...
More


 
 


Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More


Labour: Grant Robertson To Retire From Parliament
Labour List MP and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will retire from Parliament next month, and later in the year take up the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.