Monthly Archive for June, 2010
The End of The Line has won the Environment Award at the 2010 One World Media Awards against stiff opposition from Channel 4 News and ITN.
The film about the over-fishing of our seas was announced as the winner before a packed audience in London at a ceremony that celebrated the best in journalism, film and TV.
Rupert Murray, the film’s director, accepted the award and reminded the audience that the long-term repercussions of over-fishing are not just environmental but social and economic as millions of people across the planet need fish as their protein to stay alive.
The judges, led by BBC environment correspondent Richard Black, commended the film not only for tackling the extremely important issue of protecting the worlds’ oceans but also on its stunning photography.
In their citation the judges said: “Our unanimous choice is The End of the Line - the story of humanity’s over-exploitation of the world’s fisheries, and what it implies for the future. This is the rarest of beasts - a film about environmental destruction that entertains, with a positive and engaging finale.”
Greta Scacchi, the actress and a leading light in the campaign against over-fishing who at the ceremony to present the Drama Award, said “I am delighted that the achievement of the End of The Line has been recognised- it is a very important film.”
Greta played a leading role in the campaign for the film by posing naked with a large sustainable cod in an iconic photograph by leading photographer Rankin.
The film was based on the eponymous book by Charles Clover, a leading environmental writer and co-founder of fish2fork.
He said: “I’m really grateful to the One World awards for choosing recognising that this was an important film about one of the major environmental problems of our century and about our future food security. As an author and journalist, I could only contribute so much, the quality of the film was down to Rupert Murray, the director and cameraman, Claire Ferguson, the film editor, and the producers, for making sure it happened at all.”
The One World Media Awards are traditionally given to every area of the media from newspaper and magazine journalism to on-line offerings. Social justice, environmental issues and issues from the developing world are at the heart of what One World stands for.
Rome, Italy. June 9
Based on the announcement today that the European Union’s industrial fishermen have already reached their share of this year’s Atlantic bluefin tuna catch and must return to port at midnight tonight, WWF points out that this indicates the huge overcapacity of fleets - and is urging fishing countries to scrap their industrial vessels as soon as possible.
High-tech purse seine fishing boats - whose vast sack-like nets encircle shoals of bluefin tunas as they gather to spawn - set off for the high seas on May 15, but bad weather prevented them from catching any fish for the first ten days. The season was due to close a month later, on June 15.
“This early closure of the EU’s Atlantic bluefin tuna purse seine fishery does not point to recovery of the fish - it points to the gross overcapacity of fleets,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean.
“That EU purse seine fleets have in the space of a week caught their whole annual quota of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean is further proof that these boats are simply not appropriate for this fishery and that the whole operation is entirely unsustainable - not to mention economically unviable.”
France’s purse seiners, for example, had already caught 1,456 tonnes by June 8 - some 86 per cent of their quota for the year - while Spain’s had caught 728 tonnes, over 90 per cent of their quota.
“Purse seiners are so hyper-efficient they leave no chance to the tunas they target in the peak spawning period when the fish are at their most fragile,” said Dr Tudela.
“The fact that these high-tech vessels are kept idle in port for more than 50 weeks a year is a total absurdity and shows the boats’ non-compatibility with a fish stock that is heavily depleted and in urgent need of recovery. The only reason the boat owners can afford to go out on the water at all is that they were largely built thanks to extensive EU subsidies in the first place.”
“WWF is calling for an immediate phase-out of purse seining in this fishery - and will use every lever at its disposal to push members of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) when they meet in November in Paris to set the scrapping process in motion at once.”
A Greenpeace activist had to be airlifted to hospital after having a boat hook slice through his leg during violent clashes at sea with fishermen.
French fishing crews sank two Greenpeace inflatables and badly damaged another as the conservationists tried to prevent them catching Atlantic bluefin tuna.
Frank Hewetson, an activist on one of seven inflatables deployed by Greenpeace for the operation, was badly hurt when a gaffe hook pierced his leg.
He was then hauled the length of an inflatable as a fisherman pulled on the gaffe hook to bring the vessel closer. Greenpeace remains uncertain whether the injury was deliberate or an unintended consequence of wielding dangerous equipment in a close-quarters encounter.
In turn, Jean-Marie Avallone, the owner of French fishing boats, claimed a fisherman had been hurt when the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise rammed a trawler during a further clash yesterday.
Members of the conservation group questioned the claim and said they were unaware of any collision.
Mr Hewetson, who remains in hospital in Malta, was injured on Friday as activists attempted to free endangered bluefin tuna from a seine purse net and were met with a robust and armed response from the fishing crews.
Willie Mackenzie, an activist on board, wrote: “The fishermen reacted with a shocking level of violence and complete disregard for anyone’s safety. They attacked our inflatable boats.”
Olly Knowles, another activist trying to disrupt the tuna fishing fleets in the Mediterranean, said today: “Frank got a boat hook all the way through his leg. It made quite a hole. “A lot of the fishermen were very seriously armed with knives, clubs, and harpoons. There was a real intention to defend the net.”
The second confrontation took place yesterday as a cage full of bluefin tuna was towed towards the Tunisian coast to be added to a tuna ranch - where the live fish are fattened up for sale.
Greenpeace tried to cut away some of the ropes holding the net in place but they were again met by a robust response from the crews: “We were met with a less violent but still vigorous defence.”
It is the first time that Greenpeace has tried to free bluefin tuna from nets or cages and it marks a change in tactics for the group which has been frustrated by the continued failure of the European Union to stop issuing tuna quotas.
Atlantic bluefin tuna numbers are estimated to have slumped by at least 80 per cent since the Industrial Revolution and they have been especially hard hit by purse seine fishing. Research suggests fisheries are close to collapse and there are fears the fish may never be able to recover if severe limits on catching it are not introduced soon.
Fishing crews have been issued with month-long licences to catch bluefin tuna, which can fetch up to £100,000 each, until June 15 as the fish move into the Mediterranean from the Atlantic to spawn.
A spokesman for the Federation of Malta Aquaculture said: “The fishermen were acting within their rights and were doing nothing to provoke attention by these activists except for the fact that they were carrying exercising their trade.
“Greenpeace cannot pretend that such actions are measured and or peaceful. They are pure and simply designed to cause economic loss with violence against innocent operators.”
Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, can swim at speeds of more than 40mph, reach more than 13 feet in length, and weigh more than 550lbs, but numbers are dwindling.
Watch a video clip here
By Lewis Smith
We are often asked what people can do to tackle overfishing and create more protected areas for the oceans’ wildlife. Well, the 70 environmental organisations that make up the Oceans 2012 campaign www.ocean2012.eu/petition have decided to make next week, starting June 6, European Fish Week and to petition the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, to make environmental sustainability a prerequisite for a reformed Common Fisheries Policy when it comes into force in 2012.
The link to the petition is here www.ocean2012.eu/petition. Make your voice heard!