Food manufacturing giant Talley’s in the news for the wrong reasons again this week.
Greenpeace activists targeted a Talley’s-owned fishing trawler at Port Nelson, calling for an end to bottom trawling on seamounts. Two activists anchored a raft alongside the trawler Amaltal Atlantis at dawn and stayed in the cold and rain for just over 10 hours on Saturday until they were towed away by the harbourmaster.
Hooper described seamounts as the “building blocks of ocean life and said taking action was necessary to protect the ocean’s biodiversity. “We can have a healthy and thriving ocean again, but we have to stop the worst types of fishing”, said Greenpeace Aotearoa oceans campaigner Ellie Hooper.
“Every year, Talley’s sends a fleet of vessels out to bottom trawl seamounts, destroying vulnerable coral habitats in the process. In the middle of the biodiversity crisis – bottom trawling seamounts is indefensible,” says Hooper.
“When companies like Talley’s drag large weighted nets over seamounts they don’t just catch fish, they bulldoze through everything in their path and net huge amounts of other species. Research shows these trawled areas may not recover in our lifetime.
“We are here today to disrupt Talley’s activities – because they continue to bottom trawl seamounts, and the government has not taken action to stop them. “Today we’re calling on David Parker to ban bottom trawling on these biodiversity hotspots. To protect the health of the ocean, bottom trawling on seamounts must stop” Greenpeace activist Jessica Desmond said from aboard the raft attached to Talley’s bottom trawling vessel. She added, “We’re keeping warm and cosy on our pontoon, we have everything we need to pass the time. Christine has been crocheting and we’ve had lunch and essentials delivered.”
Over 70,000 people have signed petitions calling for a ban on bottom trawling and recent polling shows nearly 80% of respondents want the practice banned.
Bottom trawling involves dragging huge heavy nets over seamounts to catch fish that congregate on these biodiversity hot spots to feed and spawn. An indiscriminate method, it drags up everything growing on the seafloor along with killing non-targeted marine life. Seamounts are underwater mountains, hills and knolls of various sizes and NIWA have mapped over 800 of them in New Zealand. Fed by nutrients rising from the deep they are ideal locations for coral and sponges to grow which in turn act as nurseries for fish and other marine life. Larger mammals also benefit with whales and sharks using seamounts as feeding and navigation spots.
It’s not the first time Talleys has been in the news this year for the wrong reasons.
In May of this year, a 1news story A History of Suffering: Food giant Talley’s Group underpaid injured workers, told a sorry tale of the personal impact on one many, of the food manufacturer’s underpayment of workers injured at its factories and meat works division AFFCO.
In 2021 an anonymous whistleblower at Talley’s frozen food factory in Ashburton revealed images of the filthy conditions at the Talley’s factory, saying it was “just a matter of time” until there’s another accident at the factory.
into orange roughy, a deep sea fish that can live for over 200 years, adds further evidence to show why bottom trawling is unsustainable. Scientists found that orange roughy don’t reach full maturity around 80 years of age, much later than previously thought, throwing the sustainability of this fishery further into question. Despite this news, the Marine Sustainability Certification has revealed its plans to give its blue tick to orange roughy fisheries in New Zealand.