Environmental activists are getting ready to drop boulders into waters off the coast of Cornwall in a bid to guard uncommon sea-bed habitat from backside trawler fishing.
Greenpeace UK desires to create a barrier in South West Deeps, a chosen marine protected space 200 miles off the Land’s Finish peninsula.
Regardless of being recognised as websites of particular ecological significance, marine protected areas aren’t robotically granted any further authorized safety from fishing.
Conservationists need trawling banned in protected areas as a result of it indiscriminately tears up delicate ecosystems equivalent to seagrasses to catch species equivalent to cod, squid and flatfish.
Greenpeace introduced on Monday that its ship Arctic Dawn can be crusing to the south west within the coming weeks to start dropping boulders at South West Deeps.
It will likely be the third underwater barrier constructed by Greenpeace in UK waters, it having beforehand dropped granite on to Dogger Financial institution within the North Sea and within the Offshore Brighton marine protected space.
Within the wake of the boulder drop at Dogger Financial institution, UK Authorities company the Marine Administration Organisation (MMO) took Greenpeace to court docket for environmental breaches.
However the case was dropped in February of this 12 months after a decide at Newcastle Crown Court docket invited the MMO to rethink, saying prosecution was not within the public curiosity.
Choose Edward Bindloss remarked: “One of many ironies of this litigation is that each the MMO and Greenpeace are dedicated to enhancing the marine surroundings.”
He added: “The events on this case must be allies, not antagonists. They need to be appearing in concord given their said objective and aims are the identical.”
In April, Surroundings Secretary George Eustice introduced backside trawling can be banned at 4 of the UK’s 76 protected zones, together with Dogger Financial institution, with a ban into account at 13 extra.
A spokeswoman for Greenpeace mentioned it was pushing forward with an additional boulder drop because it was the one factor the Authorities has responded to following years of discussions and consultations on marine conservation.
In accordance with the charity, the South West Deeps is likely one of the most closely fished marine protected areas within the UK.
Satellite tv for pc knowledge confirmed that between January 2021 and mid-July 2022, it was fished for practically 19,000 hours by 110 boats, Greenpeace mentioned.
Over the identical interval bottom-trawlers spent greater than 3,370 hours fishing there, it mentioned.
It discovered 53 p.c of business fishing vessels in South West Deeps have been from France, adopted by Spain and 30 p.c and solely 9 p.c from Britain.
Pat Venditti, Greenpeace UK’s govt director, described the barrier as a “final resort”.
“The way forward for the UK’s oceans is hanging within the steadiness, and we’re working out of time to avoid wasting them from industrial fishing, habitat destruction and local weather change,” Mr Venditti mentioned.
He added: “The subsequent prime minister ought to ban industrial fishing in marine protected areas by tweaking industrial fishing licences, to indicate they imply enterprise on defending nature and supporting fishing communities.”
Greenpeace’s announcement coincides with the primary day of the UN’s International Ocean Treaty Negotiations, which goals to agree a authorized framework to guard worldwide waters.
Greenpeace mentioned if a treaty will not be finalised this 12 months, it will likely be not possible to guard 30 p.c of the world’s oceans by 2030, a goal agreed by greater than 100 international locations on the Cop15 biodiversity summit.
Tess de la Mare is a reporter with PA.