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Cut Emissions And Ban Destructive Fishing To Protect Marine Environment, Says Greenpeace

Greenpeace is calling on the Government to take further measures to protect the ocean from decline, following the release of a new report from the Ministry for the Environment.

The Our Marine Environment 2022 report paints a grim picture of ocean health.

"Sadly this latest environmental report confirms what we already know: that the marine environment is facing multiple pressures from climate change, pollution and commercial fishing. Sea levels are rising, and many of Aotearoa’s native marine species are in decline," says Greenpeace Aotearoa oceans campaigner Ellie Hooper.

"Clearly, current measures are not doing enough to protect the ocean, and further action is required to turn things around.

"A healthy, thriving ocean is possible but the Government must be bold and ambitious enough to take real measures to protect the marine environment for the future."

The report shows that sea levels are rising faster than ever before, with the rate of sea level rise in Wellington, Lyttelton and Dunedin more than doubling in the 60 years to 2020 compared to the rate for the previous 60 years.

It also shows that most ocean habitats in Aotearoa are in decline - including critical seamounts - and that many treasured marine species are threatened with extinction. The report names bottom trawling as having long-lasting, destructive impacts on the seabed and surrounding marine environment.

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Hooper says the Government needs to take action now, and must not wait three years for another report to show us more of the same.

"We’ve got enough information right now to justify urgent action to drastically reduce emissions and protect the ocean from destructive fishing, so what’s the hold up?

"We face a twin climate and extinction crisis and this report highlights the deadly overlap, and provides stark evidence for why our Government should be doing more to reduce climate pollution and protect the ocean.

Greenpeace is campaigning for both a drastic reduction in agricultural emissions to prevent further climate change impacts, and to get destructive bottom trawling banned from seamounts to protect critical biodiversity.

"Climate change and destructive bottom trawling are wreaking havoc on the rich marine environment surrounding Aotearoa. The good news is the solutions are clear. Now we just need the Government to act.

"A healthy ocean is vital to all life on this Earth, and is one of our biggest allies in the fight against the climate crisis. The need for greater ocean protection is clear, as is the need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent further decline."

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