Commercial fishing in the north-east Atlantic could be harming deep-sea fish populations a kilometre below the deepest reach of fishing trawlers, according to a 25-year study undertaken by a consortium of research institutes.

Scientists concluded that commercial fishing may have much wider effects than previously thought, reducing fish populations and changing deep-water communities which were assumed to be safely beyond the range of fishing boats.

The Council of Ministers has rejected a Commission proposal to count ship emissions towards national totals under a new global climate treaty if the IMO fails to agree reductions.

Ministers did however recognise that shipping emissions are growing fast and stressed that emission reduction targets for the sector “should be incorporated into the Copenhagen agreement and that Parties should commit to work through… the IMO to enable an international agreement that does not lead to competitive distortions or carbon leakage, that is agreed in 2010 and approved by 2011.”

The FAO has released its report on the “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008” at the start of its Committee on Fisheries meeting. The report highlights the impacts of climate change on fisheries and the impacts of the fishing fleet on habitats and the climate.