The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise recently encountered a vast fleet of over 400 vessels plundering the open ocean in the South Atlantic.
Transiting back from a recent expedition in the Antarctic, the crew discovered 265 vessels in their immediate vicinity (35 km/22 miles), with the vessel’s radar looking like a fishing free-for-all.
According to Luisina Vueso, Oceans campaign lead from Greenpeace Andino, speaking from the Arctic Sunrise:
“This area is known as the wild west of the seas for a reason: it’s lawless and bloody out here. Looking out from on deck I can see countless industrial fishing vessels on the horizon. We calculate 265 ships just within a 35 km range of us, and well over 400 in the broader ‘Blue Hole’ fishing area. These aren’t small vessels we’re talking about, this sea is spattered with huge industrial boats hauling life out of the ocean — and there’s barely any scrutiny. For the last two weeks, governments meeting at the UN to negotiate a Global Ocean Treaty have been talking, talking, talking – but out here it’s only action. Grim, ruthless, action that’s plundering the ocean for profit, pushing wildlife populations towards collapse and threatening the health of the biggest ecosystem on Earth. It’s a terrible sight to see.”
Governments at the UN have just failed to agree on a Global Ocean Treaty which could pave the way to the protection of international waters, by putting areas off-limits to destructive fishing, according to Greenpeace.
Will McCallum, of the organization’s Protect the Oceans campaign, speaking from the negotiations in New York said:
“Government promises to protect at least a third of the world’s oceans by 2030 are already coming off the rails. It’s clear our oceans are in crisis, and if we don’t land the strong Global Ocean Treaty we need in 2022, there’s no way to create ocean sanctuaries in international waters to allow them to achieve that 30×30 goal. This treaty is crucial because all of us rely on the oceans: from the oxygen they give to the livelihoods and food security they provide.”
(Featured image credit: Esteban Medina San Martin/Greenpeace)