Our Ocean Adventure

Our Ocean Adventure

On a cold Monday morning in December, this dedicated community got a European Commissioner out of his office and down to street level to respond to our demands to protect our ocean and climate.

To get noticed we needed something to stand out. And small donations across this community poured in to make this happen.

With this support, activists and artists from WeMove and partners dressed as Jacques Cousteau, spent hours building a giant colourful pop-up, and made a smaller pop-up to deliver to the Ocean Commissioner Sinkevičius himself.

The pop-up tells the story of how you and more than 150,000 people want a healthy future for our ocean. [1] A future that can’t exist if we don’t ban the most destructive fishing practice known as bottom-trawling, where massive nets scrape the ocean floor destroying everything and killing marine animals. [2]

Sinkevičius responded saying “it’s something we must deliver on.” [3] And that the book will be a constant reminder for him to take action as the Commission prepares the Ocean Action Plan in 2022! [4] He’ll even give the book to his children.

Together we also grabbed headlines in many languages and across the whole of Europe! From Le Monde, the European Commission media review, to the Irish Examiner, and Handelsblatt. [5]

And thanks to the power of this community we took over the front pages of Politico. By each chipping in a little, thousands of us ensured we had the resources to move fast and buy the ad space needed. Politico is plastered throughout the offices of EU decision makers, so politicians including Sinkevičius could see it as they shuffled to meetings or took a coffee break.

As a community we continued to pile up the pressure. We sent more than 40,000 emails to Sinkevičius and the other relevant Commissioner, Vice President for the Green New Deal, Frans Timmermans, demanding a ban on bottom-trawling in the Ocean Action Plan.

I’m now more hopeful than ever that the EU will turn the tide on destructive fishing and have healthy, thriving and resilient seas.

But we’re not going to stop anytime soon. From now until Spring 2022, we’ll be following the discussion on the Ocean Action Plan every step of the way to see that promises and pledges lead to action. Watch this space!

References: [1] Find the pictures of the pop-up book here, https://twitter.com/wemoveEU/status/1471859351602311171, and a short video to see how the pop-up book looks like here, https://twitter.com/wemoveEU/status/1472834324605161473 [2] Bottom trawling is one of the most destructive methods to catch fish. Its extensive use for commercial fishing causes a high impact on marine ecosystems, often resulting in irreversible damage to sensitive habitats. Find out more here, https://europe.oceana.org/en/our-work/bottom-trawling/overview [3] Video recording of Oceans Commissioner Sinkevičius on December 21, 2021: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cch04h92qhauh4r/Commissaire%20europ%C3%A9en%20full.mp4?dl=0 Please note you don’t need a Dropbox account to watch it (you can close the pop-up windows that ask for log in/registration details). [4] In 2020 the EU released its Biodiversity Strategy for the next ten years. The strategy includes a commitment to halting the biodiversity crisis and commits to developing an ‘Action Plan to Conserve Fisheries Resources and Protect Marine Ecosystems’, which we’re calling the Ocean Action Plan for short. The Ocean Action Plan should limit the most destructive fishing gear and create a plan for how to transition to low-impact fishing. It has enormous potential to restore ocean health, but the details are so important. [5] Le Monde (in French): https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/01/03/le-chalutage-de-fond-denonce-comme-la-pire-technique-de-peche_6107979_3244.html Irish Examiner: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40770036.html https://strapi.wemove.eu/uploads/eu_commision_7746049e2b.jpg Handelsblatt (in German): https://www.handelsblatt.com/dpa/wirtschaft-handel-und-finanzen-150-000-menschen-fordern-teilverbot-schaedlicher-fischfangmethode/27909854.html?ticket=ST-2018409-TSXYWvVbreb0UneleoRR-ap1

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