Spring is in the air and brings us some rays of hope. The European Union is getting a step closer to a circular economy, with the European Parliament Environment Committee voting on a progressive vision for new waste legislation, and the release of a far less progressive Plastic Strategy Roadmap by the Commission. The United Nations #CleanSeas campaign and the recent favorable U-turn attitude of some big private companies towards the implementation of deposit return schemes for plastic bottles will certainly encourage local initiatives in their fight against marine litter. Testimonials come from our members in Scotland and Spain.
Best practices were exchanged during a two days’ workshop during which NGOs explored how maritime spatial planning can contribute to restoring our seas to good health. However, the good environmental status 2020 goal is at stake: the marine monitoring programmes countries have put in place to evaluate the status of their seas fail to address some key data gaps. Moreover, next week will be crucial for the environmental impact of deep sea mining. Experts from across the world will gather together to discuss a draft environmental regulation.
The European Parliament made clear its determination to regulate shipping GHG emissions, should the International Maritime Organisation fail to do so by 2023. On the fisheries side, while the new EU regulation on Data Collection will provide EU decision makers with the necessary data for more informed policy making, it also hides a few paradoxes. Find out which ones! Responsible aquaculture is also at the centre of debate, with testimonials coming from a Spanish member of Seas At Risk.
With spring greetings,
The Seas At Risk team
The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted on a set of amendments to waste legislation that is being revised to bring about a circular economy in Europe. Overall the amendments strengthened the initial Commission proposals. If fully implemented these will lead to a more circular society in Europe, by prioritising recycling of materials, reusable and repairable products, and ensuring that all Member States count their recycling amounts in the same way.
The European Commission’s newly released Roadmap for the EU Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy fails to get to the root of the problem of plastics, according to the #BreakFreeFromPlastic Movement.
The NGO Retorna, which is one of the Spanish members of Seas At Risk, has long been pushing for the adoption of ambitious legislation to avoid millions of bottles and cans would ending up in the environment and the sea. Despite considerable resistance, winds of change are blowing on the touristic Spanish coast. Deposit return schemes will finally be adopted to fight marine litter.
In a move that is believed to be a global first, industry giant Coca Cola has come out in support of implementing a Deposit Return System in Scotland before it has even been put in place. This marks a significant positive step for the ongoing ‘Have You Got The Bottle?’ campaign of which the Marine Conservation Society is a founding member.
The implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive is gathering momentum. Seas At Risk brought NGOs from across Europe together for a two day workshop to examine how maritime spatial planning can help deliver the EU objective of achieving good environmental status of seas and oceans by 2020.
Member states have put in place over 200 marine monitoring programmes across the EU to measure the quality of the marine environment and to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy measures that they are taking to improve it. However, an evaluation by the European Commission shows that those data collection efforts fail to cover some key problems, such as marine litter and noise pollution.
Next week, experts and stakeholders from across the world will be gathering together in Berlin to discuss a draft environmental regulation for deep sea mining. The fundamental question, i.e. whether or not there is a need for this industry, bearing in mind the global objective to move to a sustainable future, is however lacking from the agenda.
The European Parliament has agreed to support a proposal from its own Environment Committee to include shipping in the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme (ETS). The proposal allows ship owners to pay into a newly created Maritime Climate Fund as an alternative to buying ETS allowances. The Fund would be used to help make ships and ports more efficient.
The Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), a group of NGOs with observer status at the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO), have heavily criticised comments by the head of the IMO warning the EU against taking action to address increasing GHG emissions from ships.
In this letter CAN Europe, Seas At Risk, Transport & Environment, Carbon Market Watch and the Aviation Environment Federation urge the European Commission to ensure the aviation and maritime sectors reduce emissions in line with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.
Ocean acidification could cause an annual damage to the European shellfish production of €0.9 billion by 2100, according to a recent study. Ocean acidification decreases the level of carbonate in the ocean, impacting many species that use calcium carbonate to form their skeletons and shells, including corals, algae and shellfish.
European aquaculture cannot be considered “sustainable” until the use of poorly managed and/or overexploited marine ingredients in the diets of European farmed fish is replaced by ecologically responsible marine and alternative non-marine ingredients. Seas At Risk stresses the need for urgent and longer term actions to be taken by the EU to ensure aquaculture feed ingredients are sustainable.
While the new EU regulation on Data Collection will provide EU decision makers with a sufficient scope of data for more informed policy making, it also hides a few paradoxes.
Seas At Risk Spanish member ENT Foundation, highlights Carrefour’s decision tostop selling imported Pangasius in Spain due to negative environmental impacts of aquaculture practices in Southeast Asia. Pangasious is not the only product produced in intensive aquaculture with significant socio-environmental impacts.