LAST week the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s iconic ocean-bound sail-boat, docked in our beautiful Poole Harbour.

In the calm waters across from Poole Quay, they live-streamed a boat tour and looked back on Greenpeace’s very first action on September 15, 1971, when the founders of Greenpeace set sail from Vancouver, Canada, to stop a nuclear bomb test in Alaska.

The bomb test decimated nearby marine life and waterfowl, including sea otters and harlequin ducks. Catches of rock sole declined substantially in the aftermath.

On Wednesday, I watched a cormorant dive for fish and surface with its shimmering silver catch just in front of the rainbow adorning the bow of the boat, trailing behind the silhouette of the white dove.

Fifty years on, a Greenpeace vessel called Sea Beaver has been bearing witness to another form of environmental destruction in the waters around the UK coast.

Patrolling UK waters, Greenpeace found that, in 2019, supertrawlers – vessels over 100 metres long – spent 2,963 hours (123 days) operating in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

These vessels can scoop up hundreds of tonnes of fish a day and are doing so in areas designated for the protection of important marine life and habitats.

Between 2017 and 2020, the amount of time supertrawlers were fishing in MPAs increased by 1,000 per cent. In 2019 alone, Supertrawlers spent 43 hours in Marine Protected Areas along the South West coast.

That’s why, alongside fishers, anglers, charter skippers and fishing businesses from UK coastal communities, Greenpeace are declaring a state of emergency in the English Channel and Southern North Sea.

Together, they have signed a joint statement to call on the UK government to ban supertrawlers, industrial fly-shooters and bottom trawlers from Marine Protected Areas offshore.

At Bournemouth Pier, on Saturday, August 21, Bournemouth and Poole Greenpeace volunteers asked members of the public to sign a petition calling on the UK government to ban supertrawlers in Marine Protected Areas.

The group collected 50 signatures from concerned local residents, and seaside visitors made twenty origami fish and wrote personal messages about why they care about ocean protections.

As a Greenpeace campaigner and local resident who enjoys snorkelling and witnessing the underwater wonders on our doorstep, I am passionate about effective ocean protection and sustainable fishing that enables marine ecosystems and fish populations to recover from years of destructive industrial fishing.

Last year, just one local MP, Christopher Chope, signed Greenpeace’s open letter to the Secretary of State for the Environment George Eustice, asking the government to ban supertrawlers in MPAs.

Thank you Mr Chope for supporting this crucial campaign that has huge importance to constituents in your coastal town.

Now I and campaigners with Bournemouth and Poole Greenpeace call on you, Sir Robert Syms MP, Tobias Ellwood MP and Conor Burns MP to back the state of emergency declaration and attend the parliamentary event on September 22 where Greenpeace will deliver origami fish with messages from your constituents who want to see this critical ocean protection done.


Bournemouth and Poole Greenpeace

Fitzworth Avenue, Hamworthy