After almost two years of consultations and negotiations, the European Union has finally adopted new criteria defining what it means for our seas and ocean to be in Good Environmental Status. Seas At Risk and its members have been actively involved in this process and, with other European NGOs, have contributed to a more coherent set of criteria, increasing the chances of having a similar level of protection across European seas.

A major new study by the International Coalition for Clean Transportation has concluded that the environmental and economic risks of an oil spill of heavy fuel oil (HFO), are much higher than the savings associated with keeping using this fuel.to power ships in the Arctic

2017 is certainly putting oceans in the policy spotlight. In the build up to the UN Ocean conference and the Our Ocean conference, declarations by the Commission and statements by the Environmental Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee call for sustainable use of the oceans, highlight the importance of oceans for climate change, and re-affirm the EU’s commitment to enhancing ‘blue’ socioeconomic growth. The challenge will be to reconcile these often opposing ambitions.

A new investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory and Seas at Risk reveals how Dutch and Spanish fishing lobbies have used press passes to access the EU Council building during crucial ministerial negotiations on fishing quotas.

The overfishing of many species in EU waters continues, putting the commitments of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy in jeopardy unless this practice is ended. Yet when the EU Council meets to set annual quota limits, the powerful commercial fishing industry lobbies successfully for catch limits set far higher than the scientific advice. The power of this short-termist lobbying threatens the sustainability of many fish stocks, and the long-term viability of fishing livelihoods.

The many precautionary warnings about deep sea mining remain unheeded by the European Commission, which re-affirmed deep sea mining as one of its priority Blue Growth sectors.

Member States are designating more and more marine protected areas in their offshore waters (i.e. beyond 12 nautical miles) in order to protect vulnerable or remarkable marine habitats and species. These areas need to be effectively protected from damaging activities, in particular from certain types of fisheries. International cooperation, following the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy, is key to this.

In a psychedelic comeback to the screen, Mr Smashing takes us to his deep sea disco and meets the love of his life. Destroying the deep sea to get metals for our throw-away mobile phones and other e-devices? Seas At Risk thinks it is better to step up efforts on the circular economy – make devices repairable, re-usable, recyclable. Use mineral resources more efficiently and keep them in the economy loop instead of wasting them. Watch our video and share!

In 2016, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a new deep-sea regulation, bringing outdated EU legislation in line with international agreements and scientific developments. To ensure that the new objectives are being achieved as foreseen, Seas At Risk and allied NGOs have written to Commissioner Vella, calling for an effective implementation of the deep sea regulation, to protect deep-sea ecosystems from the harmful impacts of deep-sea fishing. 

Seven European environmental NGOs are challenging the European Council, Parliament and Commission to practice what they preach and implement greener public procurement in their own buildings by phasing out single use plastics.