Fisheries equipment will not be able to be hauled around the seafloor because of the boulders, according to environmental activists.
To stop “destructive” industrial fishing, Greenpeace UK placed 18 big rocks on the seafloor in a marine conservation zone off the coast of southwest England.
Loaded down with Portland limestone rocks weighing anywhere from 500 to 1,400 kg, the environmental activists set off for the western part of the English Channel, between the United Kingdom and France (1,100 and 3,100 pounds).
The Arctic Sunrise, the company’s research vessel, dropped the massive rocks on Thursday in the South West Deeps (East) Conservation Zone, which is located around 190 kilometers (120 miles) from Land’s End, the most westerly point of mainland England.
According to Greenpeace’s Friday statement, the stones will prevent bottom-towed fishing gear from being dragged down the seabed and destroying marine life there.
One of the boulders was fashioned into a massive ammonite sculpture and set on the ocean floor as a nod to the fossils that may be found in Portland limestone.
What is the government doing about the current commercial fishing frenzy taking place in UK waters? the UK oceans director for Greenpeace, Will McCallum.
As a last resort, Greenpeace UK built this underwater boulder barrier to keep harmful materials out of the sea. Much more preferable would be if the government simply performed its job.
Bottom-trawlers’ access to the ocean floor in marine preserves was called “outrageous” by McCallum.
As he put it, “they ruin enormous swaths of the marine ecosystem and make a mockery of our so-called ‘protection.
The move is being made because the most recent round of United Nations talks to protect marine life in international waters failed.
South West Deeps, covering an area of 4,600 square kilometers (1,776 square miles), has been named “one of the most frequently fished so-called Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the UK” by Greenpeace.
In the 18 months leading up to July, it was reported that 110 vessels, the majority of which were French, fished for a total of 18,928 hours in the area.
The majority of those hours (3,376) were spent by industrial vessels using bottom-towed fishing gear.
Bottom-trawling, according to Neil Whitney, an English fisherman from East Sussex, is “like plowing a combine harvester through a national park.”
He continued, “They can wipe out entire ecosystems, and if they wipe out a fishery, they simply go on to the next one.”
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Whitney claimed that small-scale UK fisherman like himself was losing out due to the destructive practices of industrial fishing vessels such as fly-shooters (vessels that drag lead-weighted ropes along the seabed) and super-trawlers (trawlers longer than 100 meters/328 feet).
The practice of bottom-trawling being allowed in marine protected areas was deemed “absurd” by the speaker.
We hope to continue fishing for many generations to come, and MPAs are the places where fish stocks can recover. Just use your brain,” Whitney elaborated.
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