The Reason Why Greenpeace Is Dropping Massive Boulders Into the Sea

Some famous people have joined in the action by having their names painted onto these boulders.
Fabienne Lang
Greenpeace dropping boulders into the seaSuzanne Plunkett/Greenpeace

This week, Greenpeace U.K. has dropped more boulders into the sea surrounding the U.K. The dramatic action is part of the NGO's goal to end fishing boats from trawling the sea bed in Marine Protected Areas.

The hope is to tighten restrictions on one of the most destructive forms of fishing in protected waters around the U.K.

What bottom trawling is, and why it's dangerous

Bottom trawling is a method used in fishing that involves dragging a huge, weighted net across the sea bed to catch fish and other sea creatures. It catches them in large quantities in one go, along with many other non-targeted species, such as turtles, and deep-sea corals.

This places a huge impact on the ocean's biodiversity, along with many species being fished on the brink of extinction — not by necessity, but by consequence. 

In an attempt to stop bottom trawlers from operating in the U.K.'s protected waters, Greenpeace activists are dropping massive boulders into the sea so that these nets are caught, and blocked from further fishing. 

The Greenpeace U.K. crew explained on Twitter that its method of dropping the boulders is safe for its onboard personnel, that their placement in the water is safe for their "crew and other mariners in the area," as well as immediately notifying the maritime authorities of each boulder's location.

Some famous people have joined the action, showing their support by having their names painted onto these boulders.

In September last year, further north in British waters, the NGO used a different, more direct method to block a supertrawler from fishing in more protected waters. After failed attempts to communicate with the supertrawler's crew asking them to stop fishing, the team aboard Greenpeace's Esperanza ship took matters into its own hands by boarding the fishing trawler.

The activists dropped a banner onto the supertrawler, which stated "Ban supertrawlers now." They then approached the ship's nets to drop fishing deterrents, at which point the supertrawler called it quits and left the protected area. 

Speaking with the BBC, Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics at Greenpeace U.K. explained that out of the "so-called" 76 Marine Protected Areas in the nation, the government is thinking about fully protecting only two of them from bottom trawling. 

It's clear to see that more needs to be done in order to protect our oceans from such damaging fishing methods — even it means some choose to drop one boulder at a time.


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