Tynemouth learns of the plight of penguins

Members of Newcastle Greenpeace on Tynemouth beach to highlight the plight of Antarctic penguins.
Members of Newcastle Greenpeace on Tynemouth beach to highlight the plight of Antarctic penguins.

A waddle of penguins joined Newcastle Greenpeace at Tynemouth beach to raise awareness of the need for the creation of the world’s largest protected area in the Antarctic Ocean.

Penguins have joined activists around the world, from Argentina to India, South Korea to South Africa, to campaign to protect their home.

Members of Greenpeace handed out penguin biscuits as they waddled across Tynemouth to talk to people about the Antarctic Ocean.

They spread awareness about the need for the Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary and inspired locals from the Tyne and Wear area to call on the UK Government to do all they can to ensure this proposed protected area becomes a reality.

The Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary would be the largest protected area on earth, covering 1.8million square kilometres of ocean.

It would be a haven for animals like penguins and whales, which call the Weddell Sea home, and put the waters off limits to the industrial fishing vessels sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill, on which Antarctic life relies.

The Antarctic Ocean Commission (CCAMLR), an international body which includes the Government, will meet in October to decide whether the sanctuary should be created. The Government will have a crucial say in whether the dream becomes reality.

Talon Jorgenson, a Greenpeace volunteer, said: “There already is an island made out of plastic, and more animals are going extinct everyday as their habitats are destroyed, I don’t want to see the Antarctic be affected by human’s consumption needs as well.”

“An ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic would save fascinating, beautiful, entertaining and vital animals like penguins and whales. I know that I want to see these animals thrive for years to come and therefore, I am campaigning for the UK Government to pledge that it will keep this habitat safe for generations to come.”

Without public pressure, the governments responsible for protecting the Antarctic Ocean will continue to fall short. In late 2017, the Commission failed to create a new sanctuary in the East Antarctic because of lobbying from the fishing industry.

Greenpeace is campaigning in Tyne and Wear, and across the UK, to ensure that the voices of ordinary people concerned about the health of our planet are heard above those of the industrial fishing industry.

Jorgenson said: “I hope that the people of the Newcastle area can step up to the plate and pressure the Government to ensure that one of the greatest animal habitats, Antarctica, is protected.”