Deep sea trawling target of new mural

It is hoped a new mural being painted in Dunedin’s warehouse district will highlight the damage done by deep sea trawlers.

Deep Sea Conservation Coalition ocean advocate Karli Thomas said the mural, in Buller St, was being painted in order to draw attention to the negative environmental impact of deep sea trawling in New Zealand.

Ms Thomas said such trawling destroyed biodiversity hotspots, in particular sponge and coral populations, which supported other, more complex, forms of marine life.

Despite being an important resource which could take hundreds, or thousands, of years to grow, coral and sponge was being destroyed instead of protected, she said.

New Zealand was the only country left in the South Pacific to allow the destructive practice, she said.

The fishing practice, in which weighted nets are dragged along seamounts to scoop up fish like orange roughy, was undertaken by three companies in New Zealand waters, she said.

The conservation coalition wanted the practice to end.

Street artist Cinzah Merkens, of Napier, works on a mural in Dunedin’s Buller St designed to draw...
Street artist Cinzah Merkens, of Napier, works on a mural in Dunedin’s Buller St designed to draw attention to damage done by deep sea trawling. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
As part of the group’s "Defend the Deep" tour, four murals were planned

One had already been completed in Auckland, one in Raglan and one in Wellington would follow, Ms Thomas said

Artist Cinzah Merkens said he had done the first mural for the campaign in Ponsonby Rd, in Auckland.

He had been approached for the project through a friend as he did a lot of work for environmental causes.

The Buller St artwork was his first substantial mural in Dunedin and his first time painting in the city since 2012.

He said the topic of the mural, the orange roughy, was chosen because it was targeted by deep sea fishers.

"It’s a really expressive looking fish and you can have a lot of fun accentuating some of those features," he said.



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