Greenpeace Trawlers damaging coral

Trawlers damaging coral: Greenpeace -Greenpeace says it has obtained pictures of a bottom-trawling fishing boat hauling up huge chunks of coral from the ocean floor near Norfolk Island.

The images disproved claims bottom-trawling nets could fly over the surface of the sea floor without damaging the ecosystems, the environmental group said.

The group’s website shows large pieces of red coral up to two metres long being removed from the New Zealand boat’s nets.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner Carmen Gravatt said the endangered black and red corals were pictured being hauled aboard a bottom trawler in international waters by the group’s flagship, Rainbow Warrior.

Ms Gravatt said the federal government was yet to support global moves for a moratorium on bottom trawling.

“Again and again, we have caught the bottom-trawling industry red-handed with the evidence of deep-sea destruction in their nets,” Ms Gravatt said in a statement.

“How many more pictures of clear-felled coral forests do governments need to see before they recognise that a moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters is urgently needed?”

AdvertisementShe said the nets were on the Waipori, owned by the Tasman Pacific company, and seemed to have few fish but many pieces of the corals.

Ms Gravatt said Greenpeace also filmed a range of bottom dwelling species in the haul, including a rare crab of the Paralomis family.

The images were taken on Sunday on the West Norfolk Ridge, just over 200 nautical miles off the coast of northern New Zealand.

“A scientific expedition in 2003 identified this region as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’,” Ms Gravatt said.

Auckland University of Technology research fellow Dr Steve O’Shea said the area had been described as a marine Jurassic Park, with ancient species as old as dinosaurs

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