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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Action Needed to Ban High Sea Bottom Trawling

Australia has joined in the call to the United Nations for the establishment of a global ban on unregulated bottom trawling.

Australia is joining with other nations in this call to stop the horrific devastation of marine life caused by bottom trawling. The other nations include Brazil, Chile, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Vanuatu.

The United Nations General Assembly is scheduled to begin discussions to protect marine life in the deep sea on October 4, 2006.

Over 1,500 marine scientists from over 60 nations have signed a letter in support of an immediate ban on high seas bottom trawling.

The major offending nation is Spain. Spanish high seas bottom trawlers are plundering the world's oceans without regard to the conservation of marine species or habitats.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has confronted Spanish trawlers on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. In 1993, Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of Sea Shepherd, was arrested by Canadian authorities for ordering Spanish trawlers off the Grand Banks.

"Canada was quick to act in the interests of Spanish fishing corporations that were destroying the Northern cod," said Captain Watson. "They arrested me for doing the job they should have been doing."

Captain Watson was later acquitted of the charges when the jury in Newfoundland ruled that intervention against the Spanish fleets was justified because Watson acted in accordance to the United Nations Charter for Nature.

"The United Nations must act and they must act soon," said Captain Watson. "The rape of the seas by the Spanish bottom trawlers must be stopped. Irreparable damage has already been done; we must stop them from total destruction of these important marine ecosystems."