Greenpeace researchers braved choppy seas to explore Vema, an underwater mountain around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off the west coast of South Africa (AFP Photo/MARCO LONGARI) ON BOARD THE ARCTIC SUNRISE (AFP) – From the ship’s deck, there nothing to see but deep blue water, not the remotest sign of a marine paradise that lies just a few metres (feet) below the waves. Vema, an underwater mountain around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off the west coast of South Africa, is a stunning marine haven. Greenpeace researchers braved choppy seas to explore the site, seeking to monitor the impact of a trawling ban and clues of the planet’s climate crisis. Armed with high-resolution cameras, divers clad in orange-and-black drysuits embarked on what was a daily ritual, disappearing underwater to capture life on the seamount. They emerged with photographs and video footage of a site flourishing with fish, lobsters and marine plants, thanks to a moratorium on fishing. In 2007, the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) banned bottom trawling on Vema and other seamounts. On Vema, overfishing had brought a local species, the Tristan rock lobster, to the brink of extinction. Slightly over one percent of ocean areas lying outside […]

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