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Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

New Zealanders put the writing on the wall today when it comes to their feelings about ocean protection, sharing their views on posters across the capital city.

Messages calling for global ocean sanctuaries and bigger and bolder protection measures are now adorning walls across Wellington, as an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also appears in the Dominion Post

Jessica Desmond, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace, says it’s clear New Zealanders support more ambitious ocean protection, including a strong Global Ocean Treaty.

“As representatives from around the world continue to negotiate a Global Ocean Treaty at the UN, there is nowhere near enough ambition to protect the oceans. New Zealand cannot sit on the fence, we must step up and lead for a treaty that can establish and effectively implement a network of global ocean sanctuaries science tells us we need,” she says.  

“Ordinary New Zealanders have been calling for this for almost a year and it’s imperative they are heard. That’s exactly why we’ve put their views around Parliament where they can’t be ignored.

“At the moment New Zealand is lagging behind on ocean protection issues, arguing on the world stage for more destruction in the name of the commercial fishing industry. 

“On top of this, there have now been damning revelations about the links between the New Zealand fishing industry and parts of Government. At this stage, we’ve really got to ask who our representatives work for. 

“A petition has been signed by over 35,000 New Zealanders who enjoy our blue backyard and want to protect it for the future. My hope is that the Prime Minister and her Government heed the call of these people, who want a Global Oceans Treaty that can truly protect our seas. 

“For the health of our climate, our culture, and for all the creatures that call our oceans home, it is essential we protect our seas before it’s too late.”

Later this year, the UN will meet for the fourth time to negotiate a Global Oceans Treaty. Delegates from around the world will attempt to agree terms for the Treaty, in what Greenpeace is calling the most ambitious conservation effort yet. 

Desmond says these negotiations are a once in a generation opportunity to ensure ocean protection for our struggling planet.

“By now, most of us know that our oceans are in serious trouble. They face a multitude of threats and these put their vital functions at risk. All life on Earth depends upon healthy oceans, so we must work together across national borders to protect them,” she says.