Devastating ocean practices the focus of new Egmont Street mural

Posted on
07 March 2022

An Orange Roughy is the subject of a new mural being painted this week in the Wellington CBD, as the New Zealand government faces renewed pressure to ban bottom trawling on seamounts, and seabed mining. 

The mural is being painted outside popular cafe Egmont Street Eatery (1) by street artist Cinzah and Wellington-based visual artist Sheyne Tuffery, for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) (2) and WWF-New Zealand. Coinciding with New Zealand SeaWeek (3), it is the third in a “Defend the Deep” mural series rolling out across Aotearoa; following murals completed in the past month in Auckland and Dunedin. 

“Our marine ecosystems are in crisis and time is running out,” says Livia Esterhazy of WWF-New Zealand. “This incredible mural series, led by the DSCC, will leave a visual and lasting symbol demonstrating public concern for the health of our deep sea.” 

Trawling on Seamounts 

A recent petition to ban the unsustainable fishing method of trawling on seamounts (underwater mountains) has gained over 70,000 signatures. New Zealand vessels are now the only fleet still trawling on seamounts in the South Pacific high seas. 

Karli Thomas of the DSCC says, “Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker could end the destruction and protect these precious deep-sea ecosystems with the stroke of a pen, by refusing to re-issue high seas permits to a handful of trawlers owned by companies that have shown they can't be trusted to follow the rules.”(4) 

Seabed mining 

Mining companies are yet to mine New Zealand waters, but have their sights set on the South Taranaki Bight. Environment and community groups are demanding the government ban this potentially destructive industry before it’s too late.

The Egmont Street mural will be completed by the end of Tuesday, 8 March. Members of the public are welcome to watch the creation of the mural and sign two petitions, one calling on the government to stop bottom trawling on seamounts, and the other for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to ban seabed mining. 



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