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LATIN AMERICA | 01-11-2019 14:23

Greenpeace sends message to "looters of the sea" in Uruguay

The environmentalist NGO blockaded South Korean industrial fishing vessels in the port of Montevideo as part of a campaign to denounce the practice worldwide.

Greenpeace, an international environmental non-profit, denounced industrial fishing in bold fashion Thursday at the port of Montevideo in Uruguay. 

Activists displayed a 25-meter-long arrow on top of the water that read "Looters of the Oceans," pointing directly towards South Korean fishing vessels Agnes 103 and Agnes 107. 

According to Greenpeace, the Argentine Sea is endangered by industrial fishing that destroys the home of the southern right whale and other iconic species.

"The lack of regulation and enforcement of these international waters has left it so that fishing vessels can loot and violate the South Atlantic, leaving the oceans on the border of collapse," campaign coordinator Luisina Vueso said. 

Calling the problem "invisible to many," Vueso voiced his desire for a public pressure campaign to compel international governments to unite in protecting the waters through a global agreement that would provide a sanctuary network for ocean life. 

The South Atlantic endures exceptionally high rates of industrial fishing, according to Greenpeace, with numbers reaching as high as 400 vessels using techniques that "decimate" the ecosystems underwater and threaten biodiversity. 

Many ships enter the sea in order to find calamari and black hake — a rare fish — that they can then turn around and sell to wealthier countries as luxury items. Vueso says this process is very intense and operates recklessly, ignoring the normal patterns of reproduction and exposing their exploitative goals. 

"Members of the United Nations have an opportunity to protect up to 30 percent of our oceans by 2030," Vueso said. "The oceans need this urgently."  

--AFP/GREENPEACE

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