Thursday, August 14, 2008

Response to Greenpeace ocean dumping action

Early returns show Greenpeace losing by a landslide among ocean science bloggers. Craig of Deep-Sea News and Miriam of Oyster's Garter both weigh in with criticism for Greenpeace's recent ocean dumping.

Craig awards Greenpeace the "Not Having the Faintest Idea of What They Are Doing Award" and Miriam of Oyster's Garter points out that Greenpeace just put prime invasive species habitat in a sensitive area. Oops.

Phil Kline of Greenpeace offered a comment to my original post. I love ya, Phil, but I'm not buying the rationale. These boulders may do more harm than good, and I doubt that they'll be effective protection.

Nevertheless, I welcome Phil's response to my original post, and here he explains in his own words:

"There is a critical need to implement a network of fully-protected marine reserves and sustainable fisheries management in order to help reverse the dramatic decline in the ecosystems of the North Sea. The Sylt Outer Reef provides a perfect example of how we are failing to give our oceans the protection they require. The area has been officially recognized as being an important site for a variety of marine life and warranting protection under European environmental law and yet destructive activities are still allowed in the area ensuring that the environmental and conservation objectives can never been achieved. Our action was intended to give real protection to the site that is currently a 'paper park.'

The principle of non-violence is core to Greenpeace’s ethos and is borne out by our long history of successful non-violent direct action to protect the environment. This principle of non-violence is shepherded within Greenpeace by sound science and judgment. The fisherman were alerted to our presence and it was determined that the boulders would not be unsafe to vessels operating in the area. The boulders, however, were big enough to serve as an effective obstacle to the beam trawlers that strip mine the ocean floor in the area. This action is on par with the placing of similar obstacles to protect vital seagrass meadows as practiced in the Mediterranean.

By protecting this area, we have the opportunity to protect an ecosystem at its heart and publicly defend the need for an integrated marine management system that will allow sustainable fishing so that generations to come can enjoy the bounty of the seas.

Sadly there appears to be a general denial by government and the fishing industry about the highly damaged state of the North Sea and our oceans globally despite the mass of scientific evidence. The fishing industry is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the marine environment and urgent action is required if we are to prevent further collapses in stocks of commercially valuable fish and major ecosystem shifts. Please join us in protecting this area:

Phil Kline, Senior Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace and former commercial fisherman"
Maybe we need some activists to board Zodiacs and drive themselves under Greenpeace's crane to stop the ocean dumping!


Anonymous said...

Further to my colleague Phil's comment, I would like to add that although we did not approach the authorities before going ahead with our action, we did consider the environmental implications.

While unsurprisingly rejecting our action, Henning von Nordheim, the Director of the German Federal Angency of Nature Conservation (BfN)was quoted by the German News Agency (Deutsche Presse Agentur, DPA), on the 13th of August as saying that the ecological damage "if any at all" would be very slight. He is then reported as saying that the BfN would probably proceed similarly with action to restore reefs for nature-protection reasons.

This action must also be considered within the wider context. The science is clear - the world's ocean face multiple stresses, their natural resilience is being broken down at a frighteningly rapid rate. Unless urgent steps are taken to establish a global network of marine reserves, the consequences for both us and marine biodiversity will be very serious indeed.

sandyv said...

I am 63. For many years Greenpeace has been my hero. When no one else was doing a thing, they were out there doing something, sometimes legal sometimes not. They have always had my support but to hear this saddens me deeply. Please go back and look at this again before you continue. Sometimes intensions are productive and must be re examined. Thank you for being there when no one else cared for so many years

sandyv said...

sometimes intensions ARE NOT productive and must be reexamined. sorry