Activists with Greenpeace have begun placing massive granite rocks in Swedish waters to prevent fishing boats from bottom trawling in sensitive areas.
The organization accuses the Swedish government of failing to protecting the areas of Fladen, Lilla Middlegrund, and Kattegat from bottom trawling, an invasive technique that drags nets along the sea bottom disrupting seabed communities. Sweden has said in the past that the areas in question require protection and they have been listed under Natura 2000, a network of protected areas in the EU.
“The Swedish government needs to fulfil its commitment to protect the area and put a permanent ban on fishing in Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund,” said Isadora Wronski, Greenpeace ocean campaigner.
“Throughout Europe, marine protection only exists on paper. Our seas cannot wait any longer, their survival is at stake and politicians need to take action and implement laws that will protect the life of the seas today and for the future,” Wronski added, defending Greenpeace’s controversial strategy.
Currently, under the EU Common Fisheries Policy, individual European nations do not have the power to regulate or prohibit fisheries, rather such decision must be made at the EU-level. Greenpeace is pressuring the Sweden, who currently hold presidency of the EU, to reform the EU Common Fisheries Policy by allowing individual nations to regulate fishing in their waters.
This is not the first time Greenpeace has used this method to prevent trawling. In 2008 the organization placed 320 rocks in Germany’s Sylt Outer Reef. Greenpeace says that this was a success. It prevented further trawling and marine life has since colonized the boulders.
The rocks dropped in Swedish waters occur naturally in the area and weigh between 0.5 and 3 tons. Greenpeace has announced it will place up to 180 rocks.
(08/12/2008) Greenpeace dropped hundreds of tons of granite boulders on the sea floor in the German North Sea in order to stop bottom trawling in an area that is designated as a ‘Special Area of Conservation’ by the EU.