At high-noon on July 12 some highly suspicious characters were spotted loitering outside the European parliament plenary. The characters were hoping to nobble the crucial European Parliament vote on the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) by continuing their war on both European nature and on the European citizens they represent.

Their ringleader is Manfred Weber (@manfredweber) who leads the EPP party. Somewhere in the shadows lurked his spokesperson, Dirk Gotnink (Mouth of Manfred), who volubly spreads his boss’s fake news on Twitter. The main crusader against NRL, the main instigator behind the fake news campaign, the one threatening EPP MEPs supporting the Nature Restoration Law with expulsion, Weber is a satan figure who is trying to possess the EPP. 

We need the EPP to cast him out like the swine he is.  A war on nature is a war on low-impact fishers and on the countless people whose livelihoods depend on them.  It is a war on blue carbon sequestration in ocean biodiversity and sediments. It is a war on fish.  And as economists are now conceding, Weber’s war on nature is a war on jobs, prosperity, security and all European citizens. 

Likewise, the Belgium Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, who has chosen to back food industrialists instead of nature by calling for a ‘PAUSE’ to the Nature Restoration Law, was braying his moronic support from a distance.  Allegedly he has a tattoo in a very private place saying ‘Kill Nature!’

Also lurking in the shadows of the plenary were MEPs Bert-Jan Ruissen (NL), Gabriel Mato Adrover (ES) and Jan Huitema (NL), all members of the PECH Committee who voted on the Nature Restoration Law a few months ago. Each of the trio wore underpants emblazoned with WE LOVE ECOCIDE.  They were supported by Europêche (@EuropecheOrg) the lobby of industrial fisheries, which is lobbying heavily against the law (alongside the COPA-COGECA, the lobby of industrial farming) who wore identical underpants, but on their heads.

But all is not lost.  Help is at hand!  If lobbyists Europêche with their Ecocide underpants represent the capital intensive short-termist industrial over-fishers, they still do not represent the majority voice of fishers! The Low Impact Fishers Europe (@LIFEplatformEU) issued a statement to support the NRL (no fish, no fishers). 

And thankfully, many other brave heroes turned up to challenge Weber and his creepy cronies with their maleficent misinformation and greedy scheming to grievously harm the people of Europe by continuing the wipe-out of European nature.  On the bright side, standing up against the evil, nature destroying crew, were:

You are heroes–Ocean Rebellion salutes you on behalf of the hard-working people of Europe and their families.

We also beg Pierre Karleskind (@Pierre_Ka) to speak up more in favour of the NRL. He is the chair of the PECH Committee and was the only Renew there to vote in favour of the NRL.   

Pierre also needs to ask awkward questions of certain members of his committee. Like fellow RENEW party member Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ES). Her brother Aurelio Bilbao is Secretary of the Fishers Guild of Bermeo as well as Biscay, and Director of the Producers’ Organisation for Inshore Fishing of Biscay (OPESCAYA), his only concern being for the Bermeo and Biscay commercial fishing fleet. Several of OPESCAYA´s fisheries (anchovy, sardine, albacore)  proudly display the blue tick of the Marine Stewardship Council, the UK’s premier greenwashing machine. Should Izaskun be allowed to vote given her closeness to industrial fishing? 

The fate of the Ocean depends on us all.
We’ll let you know what we’re doing to help.

What is the Nature Restoration Law?
The NRL is the EU’s legacy moment to reverse biodiversity loss. Tabled in June last year by the European Commission, for the first time it introduces legally-binding targets to restore degraded ecosystems and reverse biodiversity loss. The new law, unless nobbled by Weber and his creepy crew, sets a target to all Member States to restore 20% of the EU’s land and seas by 2030.

Unfortunately, as things stand, the conservation measures contained in the NRL can be blocked by Member States who want to continue industrial fishing and the war on fish. This is because the NRL still uses the dysfunctional legal process contained within the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). If this happens the NRL is not a law, instead it becomes the Nature Restoration Fishing Option – opt in or out, it’s your choice. And we know where that will lead – EU governments will opt out, preferring easy common fishery policy short term greed over the harder decisions required to save life in the Ocean and save the long term jobs of coastal communities.

Ocean Rebellion demands the EU Parliament Plenary and European Council support the NATURE RESTORATION LAW in full, including the proposal to make Member States legally responsible for restoring nature, giving EU citizens the right to sue Member States for failing to comply. 

Ocean Rebellion also demands the EU Parliament includes fishing as a key contributor to ocean degradation within the NRL, highlighting this inclusion by banning bottom trawling in all EU waters, and makes a commitment to reduce fishing by 80%, achieved by ending industrial fishing and empowering coastal communities by promoting low-impact, labour intensive traditional fishing and incentivised Ocean care. 

EU Member States must show courage to face down the rich lobbyists, create sustainable jobs and restore the dying oceans. 





The fate of the Ocean depends on us all.
Our interventions depend on your support.

Suzanne Stallard from Ocean Rebellion says: 
“The Nature Restoration Law must include fishing measures. Industrial fishing is destroying marine life and habitats, it must end now. Gabriel Mato’s talk of ignoring the protection of the environment on behalf of socio-economic considerations and food security is just sleight of hand – carrying on with business-as-usual is not an option. Both these problems are best solved using the Nature Restoration Law as a force for major changes to the way we live with each other and our environment. ”

Sophie Miller adds: 
“This is a chance for the EU to show the world what meaningful change can look like. But the Nature Restoration Law doesn’t go far enough, we need 80% restoration and only careful extraction by local people who understand their environment.”

Stefanie Wels adds:
“We have eaten almost all of the wild protein on the land, we are now on track to do the same to the oceans. This means we will leave them empty and depleted of the fish that once swam freely. We must protect the fish, we must end bottom trawling and industrial fishing now to give fish populations a chance to recover. Because of the carbon stored by marine organisms, marine biodiversity breakdown and the climate emergency are more or less the same thing. We can’t solve one without the other, and killing off the oceans will end any realistic chance of saving the climate and our societies.”

Clive Russell also from Ocean Rebellion adds:
“Humanity has declared war on fish and we’re winning. The Ocean is so depleted that small fishing communities are on the edge of survival and areas of former plenty are now empty. Over 100 million people rely on inshore subsistence and small-scale artisanal fishing for their daily food and livelihood − often using the same waters targeted by bottom trawlers. We must reduce fishing by 80% by halting industrial fishing. Climate breakdown and nature breakdown are effectively the same thing and both have to be stopped now.”

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