Greenpeace are back dumping boulders in the sea and this time UK Marine Protected Areas in the North Sea are being targeted.
This latest episode follows the dumping of boulders in a marine reserve off Rugen Island in the Adlergrund Marine Reserve at the end of July. The new target for Greenpeace is the Dogger Bank MPA.
Greenpeace UK says “We plan to close 47 square miles from destructive bottom trawling, because the government isn’t taking action.
“But this is just one of many UK Marine Protected Areas the government allows destructive fishing to operate in.
“The government is failing our Marine Protected Areas.
“A new report shows that only 5 of 73 offshore UK Marine Protected Areas ‘may be’ progressing towards their conservation targets.
“Yet the government claims to be a leader in ocean protection.”
Greenpeace say that the three-tonne boulders being dropped by the Esperanza will deter fishing vessels from operating in the areas.
It believes that trawlers will be forced to avoid the area because of the boulders which will damage fishing gear. Hey plan to keep dropping boulders in the area until the government agrees to protect.
EMK, the Dutch professional fishermen’s organisation asked of Greenpeace’s actions “The Doggerbank will soon be completely colonized by monster offshore turbines, destroying the best spawning grounds, and killing huge numbers of passing marine mammals. What is this GreenpeaceEU campaign really made for, because it’s not about saving the sea from human activity?”
Many others have questioned the wisdom of the actions being conducted by Greenpeace as concerns arise of damaging the natural habitat for fish stocks and benthic species by dumping alien boulders into the marine environment.
A private commentator said “The Dogger Bank SAC is designated to protect areas of sandbank. Dumping a load of granite blocks on this habitat will adversely impact its ecological function and therefore damage the site’s integrity. Did you (Greenpeace) carry out an HRA before doing this? What mitigation have you put in place?”
To which Greenpeace UK replied “We commissioned BioLaGu to conduct a Natura 2000 Impact Assessment on the potential impact. This concluded that our careful placement of the boulders would not have any significant impact on the protected features of the Dogger Bank MPA, i.e. the seabed.”
Greenpeace claims that although the UK claims that it is a world leader in marine conservation with its network of Marine Protected Areas, highly destructive industrial fishing continues on a vast scale inside supposedly protected parts of UK waters.
“Supertrawlers (huge trawlers over 100 metres in length) collectively spend thousands of hours each year fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas, including in MPAs established specifically to protect porpoises, a species potentially threatened by this activity.”
It is doubtful that dropping boulders will affect any of these supertrawlers activities or protect porpoises as they use midwater trawls to catch pelagic species.