March 30, 2023

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United Kingdom: Against “destructive” fishing, Greenpeace drops stone blocks into sea

United Kingdom: Greenpeace Drops Blocks of Stone in Sea Against “Destructive” Fishing

Unlike ships that regularly sail from the south-west tip of England, the Greenpeace crew do not throw nets into the sea, but large blocks of stone. Its purpose: to prevent “destructive” industrial fishing practices.

Activists aboard the Arctic Sunrise, the environmental conservation group’s flagship vessel, dropped 18 limestone boulders, weighing between 500 and 1,400 kg, into the sea on Thursday in the heart of an officially protected marine area.

Idea: These large nets, used by large fishing vessels to make bottom trawl fishing impossible, damage the seabed and kill non-target species.

“We put large limestone rocks on the bottom of the sea, which creates a protective barrier that prevents destructive fishing,” activist Anna Tisci, who was on the boat, told AFP.

What “immediately prevents destructive trawlers from operating in the area by preventing them from dragging fishing nets along the seabed,” he adds.

According to Will McCallum, head of Greenpeace UK, this is a measure “to protect the oceans as a last resort”. “We really want the government to do its job,” he said, as bottom trawling is allowed in most of the country’s marine protected areas.

According to him, authorizing such a practice in these areas is “defamatory” and makes a mockery of the so-called “our (policy) + protection +”.

– Change licenses –

“For our future”, “Simon Beck” or “Stephen Fry”: Activists wrote messages or names of celebrities supporting action on the limestone blocks.

One of the rocks thrown into the sea was cut into the shape of an ammonite, a fossil often found in the rocks of the Portland Peninsula on the English Jurassic coast, from which the stone blocks come.

Greenpeace’s move comes as talks on an international treaty on the oceans failed at the UN last week.

According to the Environment Agency, the South West Deeps is “one of the most heavily fished + marine protected areas in the UK”. He is calling on the government and future prime minister appointed next week to “ban industrial fishing in all British marine protected areas by reforming fishing licences”.

The organization cited statistics from the “Global Fishing Watch” laboratory, which showed that 110 vessels – more than half of them from France – spent almost 19,000 hours fishing in 18 months.

Of those, submarine trawlers spent 3,376 hours in the protected area.

“There are marine protected areas in the UK that are only nominally protected. In most cases, industrial fishing vessels are perfectly legal to fish there, taking large quantities of marine life, destroying habitats, our fisheries and fishermen’s livelihoods,” says Anna Tisci.

Neil Whitney, a fisherman from southern England, was quoted by Greenpeace as saying, “It’s like driving a combine harvester through a national park.”

He laments that bottom trawls “have the potential to destroy entire ecosystems, and if they cause such a decline, they should go elsewhere.” “Industrial fishing (…) is destroying our marine environment, and small-scale British fishermen like me are the big losers. ยป

According to him, the granting of permission for bottom trawling in the protected marine area is “absurd”. He underlines that these areas “must allow species to redevelop.” “It’s a matter of common sense.”

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