Poseidon, God of the Seas, leaps from the Atlantic to rage against the UK Government. His magical realm is under attack from UK Government policies like ‘Freeports’ and lacklustre fishing regulations, as well as the continual onslaught of sewerage from the UK’s privatised and antiquated water system.
But help is at hand.
On Thursday 28 September, following the release of the ‘State of Nature’ report, individuals, groups and more than 40 of the UK’s NGOs will unite alongside Chris Packham at Defra offices in London and across the UK. This legal, peaceful and respectful protest uses our collective voice to protest at the government’s failure to address the deepening crisis in nature, laid bare in the devastating State of Nature Report.
In the past Ocean Rebellion has visited DEFRA many times.
In 2021 we demanded that DEFRA bans bottom trawling. Using a sculptural vessel and a shoal of dying Merfolk we woke them from their slumber with a foghorn. They heard, and complained about, the foghorn but industrial fishing drags on, even if it is ruining the lives of small scale fishers all over the UK.
We returned in 2022, this time with a special message for the then Secretary of State for Environment George ‘Useless’ Eustice, to reveal a DEFRA cover up of a mass marine life die-off on the North East coast. The die-off was the result of the government’s latest get the rich richer quicker scheme ‘Freeports’. The illegal dredging and dumping of toxic silt in Teeside killed lobsters and crabs all the way down the coastline. DEFRA claimed the die-off was caused by an ‘algae-bloom’, a claim refuted by local fishers at the time and has since been proved improbable. The crustacean die-off left a hole in the marine food chain, a hole that meant hundreds of baby seals from marine protected areas also died. Washed up on beaches having starved to death.
And later in 2022 we were back again to highlight the wholesale sell off of fishing quotas to industrial fisheries. This latest nature failure left the UK’s seas at the mercy of greedy corporations and nations, like the owners of the trawler ‘Cornelius Vrojilk’ a dutch fishing company with permission to catch 23% of England’s fish. Earlier in the year DEFRA body CEFAS published a report confirming that only 35% of UK fish stocks are set in line with scientific advice. UK Ministers ignored CEFAS and set catch limits way above this scientific advice.
Earlier this year we revisited the North East die-off as national news outlets finally began to pick it up, but there’s still no action from DEFRA. And George Eustice’s replacement, new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Thérèse Coffey, makes George seem like an environmental champion.
If the UK Government continues to ignore nature, continues to ignore the Ocean, we will face dire consequences.
Photos by Guy Reece.
The fate of the Ocean depends on us all.
Our interventions depend on your support.