Sea Shepherd Applauds Greenpeace Aquatic Rock Garden
"As a one of the original co-founders of the Greenpeace Foundation I have been very critical over the years of some of the directions that Greenpeace has gone and the original principles and tactics and actions that they have abandoned," said Captain Paul Watson. "But I have always been on the look out for Greenpeace actions that I can welcome and support and finally Greenpeace has delivered with their latest action in the North Sea."
This week Greenpeace dropped three ton boulders near the Sylt Outer reef off the coast of Germany in order to discourage bottom trawling. The area is near the North Frisian Islands near Schleswig Holstein and the South coast of Denmark.
This is a tactic that Sea Shepherd originally deployed with the deployment of net rippers on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland in 2005.
There is a ban on heavy net bottom trawling in this area. Nonetheless German fishermen condemned Greenpeace accusing them of endangering human life and attempting to damage their fishing equipment.
"We believe what they've done is illegal and risks the lives of fishermen," Peter Breckling, general secretary of the German Fishing Association, told Reuters News Agency. He denied German fishermen used nets in the area and insisted the reef was not in danger.
The German Office for the Protection of Nature expressed concern that the Greenpeace action might hinder its talks with fishing groups.
"My worry is that at a time when we had been hoping to reach an agreement with fishermen, the Greenpeace campaign does not help dialogue," Henning von Nordheim, the Office's Scientific Director for Marine Nature Conservation, told Reuters.
"This is a good action by Greenpeace," said Captain Watson. "If the fishermen don't wish to be hurt then they simply need to refrain from illegally dragging their destructive nets in the area. If they insist on breaking the law and this results in injury to themselves then they will have only themselves to blame. Public tolerance for the arrogant attitude of fishermen is becoming more limited. Fishermen are going to have to realize they can't have everything they want whenever they want it."