Global ocean treaty: giant octopus 'rises from the Thames' in Greenpeace protest action

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
It's big, it's pink, and it wants a consistent government approach to protecting the seas

An inflatable octopus bigger than a double decker bus has risen from the murky depths of the Thames outside the Houses of Parliament - to demand a sea-change in the UK government’s approach to protecting the seas.

The 20-metre tall "octo-activist" is part of a Greenpeace protest action, after the environmental action group says the government pushed back ratifying a newly-signed global ocean treaty until after the next general election. The UK was one of the first governments to sign the high seas treaty at the United Nations General Assembly when it first opened for signatures in September.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But despite receiving more than the 60 signatures necessary, the countries each need to ratify the treaty - which gives governments new powers to establish marine sanctuaries - into law for it to become legally binding.

A police boat checks out the 20-metre tall octopus in the Thames (Photo: Kristian Buus / Greenpeace)A police boat checks out the 20-metre tall octopus in the Thames (Photo: Kristian Buus / Greenpeace)
A police boat checks out the 20-metre tall octopus in the Thames (Photo: Kristian Buus / Greenpeace) | © Kristian Buus / Greenpeace

Greenpeace says despite some promising signs - including the government backing a moratorium on deep sea mining - ministers have also approved a raft of new oil and gas licences in the North Sea, which they say pose a serious threat to marine life and the climate.

Oceans campaigner Fiona Nicholls said: "We’ve brought our giant deep sea octo-activist to Westminster to demand a sea change in the government’s approach to ocean protection because right now, all we’re seeing is inconsistency.

"The UK has championed the global ocean treaty and just announced its backing for a moratorium on deep sea mining but it’s also poised to severely delay signing the Treaty into UK law and has unleashed a frenzy on oil and gas in the North Sea," she continued. “True leadership on ocean protection demands a fully joined up approach."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That means concrete plans to ratify the treaty, working with other governments to agree a full ban on deep sea mining, and an end to new oil and gas, she continued.

Greenpeace UK co-executive director Will McCallum, who helped unfurl the seven-by-twenty-metre pink sea creature on Wednesday, added: "Every delay in safeguarding our oceans through the global oceans treaty and each new oil and gas licence issued not only imperils the climate but further endangers the delicate balance of marine life, pushing ecosystems closer to the brink of irreversible harm".

Joined up thinking was crucial, he said, if the government was serious about ocean protection - "and the time to show voters that’s the case is right now".

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.