From: Associated Press
Published July 13, 2006 12:00 AM

Greenpeace Warns Drift Nets Threatening Mediterranean Marine Life

ATHENS, Greece — The environmental group Greenpeace urged Mediterranean countries on Wednesday to crack down on drift net fishing, warning the illegal practice was threatening marine life.

Activists on Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior ship said they gathered evidence over the past three weeks of drift net fishing in the Mediterranean Sea, including cases of sea turtles, dolphins and swordfish entangled in nets. They also presented video footage of boats using banned nets.

"They're called walls of death," said Sophia Tsenikli, a Greenpeace oceans campaigner. "They're floating and catch everything in their way."

Drift nets, banned in Greece since 2002, drift with the current. The nets can be nine miles in length and 65 feet in depth.

The United Nations banned drift nets in 1992. The European Union in 1998 banned European vessels' possession or use of the nets by 2002 in European waters.

Tsenikli said the Rainbow Warrior crew witnessed drift net fishing in the Aegean Sea.

"The high seas don't belong to any specific country, and we have to work together to protect them," she said.

Greenpeace wants the creation of a marine reserve network that would cover 40 percent of the Mediterranean Sea. Activists said large-scale reserves would protect entire ecosystems and allow certain species to recover.

Source: Associated Press

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