German Celebrities Join Fishlove to end EU Deep-sea Trawling

Date: July 1, 2014

Fishlove, a campaign consisting of an ever-growing number of actors and well-known personalities who have agreed to be photographed with fish to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s oceans from destructive fishing practices, is coming to Germany.

In a move to focus attention and support German decision-makers to push through crucial reforms of the EU’s deep-sea fisheries regulation , Fishlove has started building a series of photographs of German celebrities. Asli Bayram, Annina Roescheisen and Wolf Kahler are amongst the first Germans to join Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Richard Branson, Jerry Hall, Gillian Anderson, and others, in having their Fishlove portraits taken.

“Fishlove is one of the few campaigns that is managing to get this important issue into the media,” says actress and former Miss Germany, Asli Bayram.

Fishlove is working with the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition to urge the German government to show leadership in the reform of the current EU deep-sea fisheries management regulation to phase-out destructive fishing practices such as deep-sea bottom trawling and protect slow growing, long lived vulnerable deep-sea species from depletion.

Nicholas Röhl, himself German, founded the Fishlove campaign in 2009 with actress Greta Scacchi.

“What is really shocking is that deep sea fishing is wholly dependent on taxpayer’s money for its survival. The practice is not only environmentally but also economically unsustainable,” says Röhl. “Public money is being used to destroy the marine habitat for the gain of a tiny number of fishing industries, predominantly the French and Spanish”, he says. “As part on going EU Fisheries Council negotiations, Germany has the potential to lead the reforms to save this, the largest habitat on Earth.”

“Deep-sea bottom trawling is widely recognized to be one of the most destructive fishing practices and the most serious threat to deep-sea ecosystems in the Northeast Atlantic,” said Matthew Gianni, Co-founder of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition. “We urgently need Germany to take the lead on negotiating a new regulation for deep-sea fisheries that bans deep-sea trawling and sets strict limits on the catch for deep-sea species”.

Deep-sea bottom trawlers drag massive, heavy nets affixed to steel plates and cables across the deep seabed, wiping out everything in their paths, including deep-sea corals and sponges that have flourished for thousands of years. The European Commission has proposed a phase-out of deep-sea bottom trawling and bottom gillnet fishing. The Commission proposal is currently under negotiation by Germany and the other EU member States in the European Council.

It is estimated that a fleet of a dozen deep-sea trawlers could plow across an area of the seabed three times the size of Berlin in less than a month.

“It is unlikely that Europeans would tolerate the bulldozing of forests and the obliteration of hundreds of animal species to hunt deer or wild pigs to put on the dinner table,” says Fishlove co-founder and actress Greta Scacchi. “It is even more unlikely that people would accept that if the forests took thousands of years to grow and harbored biodiversity found nowhere else on earth.”

“Yet something very similar is happening in the deep sea, one of the largest and most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet.”

“Deep-sea fishing fleets using bottom trawl gear are ravaging an environment that may never recover from the assault, and are doing so in pursuit of a scant few fish species,” says Scacchi.

The Fishlove portraits were taken by renowned photographer John Swannell.

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