‘Big industrial fishing boats can catch more in one day than I can catch all year. They’re able to take out entire ecosystems, and if they cause a fishery to collapse, they just move on to the next one. Greenpeace gets the urgency, while leaders and policy makers just twiddle their thumbs.
‘Industrial fishing, like fly-shooters and supertrawlers, are killing our marine environment, and small-scale UK fishermen like me are losing out big time. Coastal communities are on their knees because fishermen are having to leave the profession they’ve dedicated their lives to; there’s hardly anything left to catch and no money to be made, despite all the promises politicians made to us.
‘I’m a trawlerman, and I know it’s absurd that bottom trawling is legal in our Marine Protected Areas. It’s like ploughing a combine harvester through a national park. MPAs are supposed to be the areas where fish stocks can recover, so that we have fish for generations to come. It’s a case of common sense.’
Fisherman from Newhaven in East Sussex
Celebrities Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry and Daniel Lismore are supporting the action, alongside Conservative politicians Henry Smith MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP and Theresa May’s former Downing Street environment advisor Lord Randall, as well as the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas MP. Their names were stencilled on the boulders before being dropped into the ocean.
The 18 boulders are Portland limestone, and each weighs between 500kg and 1,400kg. They make it impossible for bottom-towed fishing gear to be dragged along the seabed.
Artists from the Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust created a giant ammonite sculpture out of one of the boulders, which will be placed on the seabed alongside the others. The sculptors took inspiration from the ammonite fossils found in Portland limestone.
‘For more than a decade, I’ve been just one voice among millions asking our Government to take urgent and meaningful action to conserve our marine life. They say they are listening, and that they have already made world-leading commitments on marine conservation. But as industrial fishing vessels continue to plough through our so-called Marine Protected Areas, the Government’s rhetoric is revealed as empty and cynical.
‘It makes no sense at all to call something a protected area if you’re going to sit by and let huge fishing boats trash the seafloor with their heavy gear. There is no good explanation for the Government’s inaction. It’s baffling and frustrating, and completely undermines their claims to be world-leaders on ocean protection.
‘That’s why I fully support Greenpeace’s latest boulder barrier in the South West Deeps. My name has been stencilled, for the second time, on to a boulder which is now at the bottom of the sea, stopping bottom-trawlers from continuing their trail of destruction.’
Chef, broadcaster and campaigner