Climate change: Oceans are in a ‘death spiral’ and world leaders ‘drag their feet’, warns Greenpeace | Climate News
The oceans are on a “death spiral” from climate change and destructive fishing, with world leaders doing little to stop it, an environmental lobby group has warned.
Greenpeace says the chemistry of the water is now being altered rapidly by greenhouse gas emissions, as superchaulers plunder the sea in an unsustainable harvest.
Starting on World Oceans Day, Tuesday, June 8, he will embark on a six-month mission to patrol the UK’s south coast, monitoring allegedly protected areas for harmful fishing practices.
Will McCallum, Oceans Officer at Greenpeace UK, told Sky News: “Right now the UK government is standing on the world stage and claiming to be a leader in protecting the oceans because it owns these marine areas. protected surrounding its coastline.
“But inside these protected areas, you are allowed to do just about anything you want.”
Operation Ocean Witness will follow the factory trawlers with kilometer-long nets that collect everything in their path.
And he will look for evidence that boats drag heavy fishing gear along the seabed, tearing up fragile nurseries for marine life.
Conservation group Oceana used satellite tracking data to calculate that boats spent 68,000 hours ‘bottom trawling’ in UK marine protected areas in 2020. That’s a 10% increase from compared to the previous year.
The practice is legal, although conservation areas are designed to protect seabed habitats such as reefs and corals.
“Our oceans are on a death spiral: battered by climate degradation and destructive fishing,” said Mr McCallum.
“World leaders continue to drag their feet as if the world’s oceans are too big to be destroyed. We can say with certainty: they are not. “
Sky News was broadcast in the English Channel on a Greenpeace RIB.
A few miles from Newhaven, we found David Downey, looking for mackerel.
Despite hours of effort, he hadn’t even taken enough to pay for his fuel – and he blames the super-towers in EU countries.
“The nets I use now are 300 meters long,” he said.
“They used to be 100 meters in length. I put them in for half an hour, had a day’s work, and went home.
“I put the net three times yesterday and caught 13 fish.”
The government has recognized that current marine protection is inadequate.
It provides for a pilot project of “highly protected” areas which would prohibit all activities that could have a damaging effect on marine fauna or habitats.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The UK is a world leader in marine protection, and we are leading the way internationally to deliver healthy and sustainable seas.
“We must strike a balance in supporting sustainable industries while increasing protections for our seas to ensure a healthy, resilient and diverse marine ecosystem and we will work with others as we develop future protections.”
Studies show that full protection can allow conservation areas to recover in about five years, with fish becoming so abundant that it spills over into surrounding areas, where fishing is still permitted.
It’s a win-win for the environment and the fishing industry.
But some fishermen say fish stocks are already on the verge of collapsing in parts of UK territorial waters and cannot afford to wait.
Martyn Yarworth plans to leave Newhaven and take his fishing boat to Cornwall, where there is not the same competition with trawlers from the mainland.
“We were catching about 30 boxes of fish a day. Now we’re down to a box and a half,” he said.
“I think we are facing an environmental catastrophe here, an absolute catastrophe.
“Fisheries management is not efficient and we need a complete overhaul.”
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