Greenpeace planning ‘boulder barrier’ in Cornish marine protected zone

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 needs to create a barrier in South West Deeps, a delegated marine protected space 200 miles off the Land’s Finish peninsula.

Regardless of being recognised as websites of particular ecological significance, marine protected areas will not be routinely granted any further authorized safety from fishing.

Conservationists need trawling banned in protected areas as a result of it indiscriminately tears up delicate ecosystems resembling seagrasses to catch species resembling cod, squid and flatfish.

Conservationists need backside trawling banned due to the injury it does to the seabed (Kristian Buus / Greenpeace)

Greenpeace introduced on Monday that its ship Arctic Dawn will probably 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 Bank 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 yr after a decide at Newcastle Crown Courtroom invited the MMO to rethink, saying prosecution was not within the public curiosity.

Choose Edward Bindloss remarked: “One of the 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 ought to be allies, not antagonists. They need to be appearing in concord given their acknowledged function and targets are the identical.”

Greenpeace watches and paperwork the French fishing vessel Luis ll La Rochelle in operation utilizing a gill internet (Kristian Buus / Greenpeace)

In April, Atmosphere Secretary George Eustice introduced backside trawling could be banned at 4 of the UK’s 76 protected zones, together with Dogger Financial institution, with a ban into consideration at 13 extra.

A spokeswoman for Greenpeace stated it was pushing forward with an extra 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 without doubt one of the most closely fished marine protected areas within the UK.

Satellite tv for pc information confirmed that between January 2021 and mid-July 2022, it was fished for almost 19,000 hours by 110 boats, Greenpeace stated.

Over the identical interval bottom-trawlers spent greater than 3,370 hours fishing there, it stated.

It discovered 53% of business fishing vessels in South West Deeps have been from France, adopted by Spain and 30% and solely 9% from Britain.

Boulders being thrown into the English Channel from Greenpeace ship Esperanza (Suzanne Plunkett / Greenpeace)

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 save lots of them from industrial fishing, habitat destruction and local weather change,” Mr Venditti stated.

He added: “The following prime minister ought to ban industrial fishing in marine protected areas by tweaking business fishing licences, to point out they imply enterprise on defending nature and supporting fishing communities.”

Greenpeace’s announcement coincides with the primary day of the UN’s World Ocean Treaty Negotiations, which goals to agree a authorized framework to guard worldwide waters.

Greenpeace stated if a treaty shouldn’t be finalised this yr, it is going to be unattainable to guard 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030, a goal agreed by greater than 100 nations on the Cop15 biodiversity summit.

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