Watching the Taretråwlers week in week out scraping the sea bottom is a emotive issue for anyone who loves nature and the sea.
We know from reading the reports that the company concerned wants the seaweed beds clear of epiphytes and animals – we know from reading documents on the Thiamin issue that our seabirds are dying – we see them from time to time – their movement is slow and uncoordinated, their wings hang listlessly – often we find the same seabird a few days later – floating in the water dead –
After trawling huge mounds of seaweed are washed ashore – the stalks and stems are completely bare of animal and plant life. As trawling happens along the entire length of the Norwegian coast where there are viable seaweed beds we know this is everywhere. There must be vastly larger amounts of stalks littering the sea floor – and this we know from fishermen who catch them in their hooks.
This is an empty taretråwler – you can judge its size from the man standing on the back outlined in yellow.
Talking to other environmentalists many say the same thing – its like a mantra – you can even see it on the taretråwlers website – the quantity of seaweed remains constant. For many this is enough to walk away – for the politicians we have spoken to it certainly is enough.
For us though we read further – the scientific papers actually say things like ” observations indicate that diversity of flora and fauna will be reduced within the trawled area. The diversity will probably not recover until the mean age of the plants reach the mean age of the large kelp plants in untrawled kelp forest. Mean age increase with increasing latitude and is about 7 years in mid-Norway ” As harvesting occurs every 4th year this is not possible. The word PROBABLY means they don’t know.
this quote is from Rinde et al. 2006 – Effekter av taretråling
Those very simple words have a very STRONG MEANING – it means that the plants and animals normally living in the forests are not allowed to return.
THE FORESTS ARE DEPLETED
How can that not be an important issue??
If you look at the maps you will see that the areas trawled are along the entire length of the coast – they even have access to over 90 bird reserves.
Many of the species of animals in the forests cannot escape the trawlers so they die where the trawlers operate.
One variety of fish, the gentle sygnathids would not be able to escape – this family includes the Seahorse of which species the long nosed seahorse is found as far as North Norway – this is what the paper has to say about such animals “We have little knowledge of rare species in marine ecosystems, and cannot exclude that a high trawling intensity in areas suitable for rare, unidentified species with poor dispersal properties, may lead to reduced occurrence and a negative development of these.” Ie anything rare they may not know about will have a reduced population and even become extinct.
You cannot have much stronger words than those.
This article is about EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTALISM one of our successes is the prosecution of a taretråwler for fishing illegally. To date this is the only prosecution we are aware of – it seemed that our success only came after we taped a conversation with a senior police officer who felt it his duty to defend the boats no matter what.
More recently our activities have had several successes, but as they are still in the justice system it is not right to say anything other than the vehicle of one of our camera operators was attacked – unfortunately for the attacker he was filmed – we are not seeking to prosecute this but he should be aware that the film has been passed on to the appropriate authorities and we will prosecute if it happens again.