Mark Powell posted today about a Greenpeace boat that dropped 150 3-ton granite slabs into the North Sea. The slabs are supposed to prevent trawling by catching or breaking the nets. Greenpeace was confident that they didn’t crush anything (which seems like hubris to anyone who has worked on the ocean), but even if that’s true, Greenpeace just put prime invasive species habitat in the middle of a sensitive area.
Invasive species looooove unoccupied artificial habitat. They often aren’t good enough competitors to invade an existing diverse community, but put down a nice blank granite slab and they’ll trash the place. Of couse, ripping up the ocean floor with a trawler ALSO creates a lot of vacant space for invasive species to come in (that may be one of the causes of the tunicate invasion on Georges Bank), but Greenpeace doesn’t have the right to make that judgement by itself. Even environmental restoration projects have to undergo review to weigh possible unintended consequences. Greenpeace’s illegal dumping could conceivably prove to be more damaging to the ecosystem than fishing.