The Daily Bork

June 09, 2005

Fish Wars: The Potatoheads strike back

Further to the Greenpoodles actions of this week...

Greenpeace activists have targeted a Nelson-based trawler for the second consecutive day, preventing it from bottom trawling in the Tasman Sea.

Amaltal fishing company, which owns the Ocean Reward deep sea trawler, says it is pushing ahead with plans to file for an injunction to stop the activists interfering with its boat.

Amaltal director Andrew Talley said the company would file for an injunction in the High Court in Auckland today because of safety concerns for the crew.

Greenpeace said it stopped four trawls by the Ocean Reward yesterday in the Tasman Sea, using its protest vessel Rainbow Warrior and inflatable boats.

The action follows a high-seas drama on Tuesday when the activists complained about being shot at with potatoes from compressed airguns and sprayed with high pressure hoses by crew of the Ocean Reward as they used a liferaft to interfere with its operation.

Mr Talley said the activists had cut the boat's net with knives and gaffs in what he described as an act of piracy.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner Carmen Gravatt said activists continued their protest action against bottom trawling yesterday, using a cable to connect the Ocean Reward's trawl doors together, choking off the net and preventing it from being deployed.

AdvertisementAdvertisementLater, it attached floating barrels to the net, forcing the vessel to haul the net back in, Ms Gravatt said.

The organisation claimed it was taking action to stop the destruction of the ocean floor because governments were failing to do so.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand has backed Greenpeace's action against bottom trawling.

Maritime Union general secretary Trevor Hanson said over-fishing and bad practices such as bottom trawling were wrecking the environment, and would also destroy the industry that depended on the environment.

Mr Hanson said the fishing industry needed to be overhauled with stronger regulation and a long term strategy to overcome its problems, particularly pay and conditions for workers and the sustainability of fish stocks.

But Nelson-based Orange Roughy Management Company chief executive George Clement said today Greenpeace was overstating its case.

"If it looks like piracy and smells like piracy, let the court decide," Mr Clement said.

He said that any type of food production business changed the environment to some degree, but it was a matter of balance, and the level of impact from bottom trawling was extremely small compared to the amount of ocean. Two-thirds of New Zealand's zone was not trawled because it was too deep or closed by regulation, Mr Clement said.

He said if Greenpeace thought what the industry was doing was wrong, it should work with the industry to solve problems, not against it.

Charge the fools with piracy. Play them at their own game. Get one good conviction on them and take them to the cleaners. See how many guilty middle classers give them cash on the street then.


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