The European Parliament plenary voted today on a proposal to merge and simplify a set of rules within current fisheries legislation. Despite being aimed at reducing the impacts of fisheries on the marine environment, the proposal adopted only serves to weaken existing protective legislation, without scientific justification.

Today in a huge win for the marine environment, the European Commission has committed to legislate against single-use plastic items in the new Strategy on Plastic in the Circular Economy. This would put the EU in a global leadership position in the fight against the relentless flow of plastic lids, stirrers and drinking straws into the oceans.

Today the European Commission released a long awaited proposal for a revised law to govern the delivery of waste from ships in ports and fishing harbours. The proposal contains vital changes in how ships will deliver waste in ports and pay for it, changes that have long been campaigned for by environmental NGOs concerned with the impacts of waste dumping on the oceans.

In response to recent consultations held by the International Seabed Authority, Seas At Risk makes a compelling plea to consider sustainable alternatives to deep sea mining instead of rushing the development of regulations for commercial mining.

Last night European states have been joined by the Marshall Islands, Chile, Mexico and other nations* in a call for urgent action to tackle shipping's contribution to the climate crisis. Signatories to the "Tony De Brum Declaration" have restated their support for the objectives of the Paris Agreement and called for action on shipping consistent with those objectives.

Early this morning European Fisheries Ministers have made progress towards the goal to end overfishing in the Atlantic and North Sea in 2018, though they still have set many quotas above the fishing limits that scientists had advised to ensure sustainable fisheries.  These decisions are at odds with the legal obligation of EU Member States to end overfishing by 2020 at the latest.

2018 is fast approaching. Seas At Risk and its members will be on call with their collective expertise and concrete policy solutions to solve the major challenges our seas are currently facing. Together with our members, we send you season’s greeting and wishes for a bright blue 2018.

In its new report ‘Tackling overfishing and marine litter’, Seas At Risk undertakes an analysis of fisheries and marine litter measures adopted by Member States under the Marine Directive. While noting some progress, it concludes that much more effort is needed to achieve healthy fish stocks and reduce harm from marine litter by 2020. The report also provides recommendations on the measures needed.

On 11 & 12 December, the Fisheries Council will meet to agree fishing quotas for 2018. Ahead of this meeting, Seas At Risk, together with Pew, Oceana, ClientEarth and the Fisheries Secretariat, has called on the Ministers for Fisheries of the EU Member States to follow current scientific advice and take steps to end overfishing.

Today Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament called for a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. Heavy fuel oil is the cheapest marine fuel and accounts for three quarters of all fuel carried in the fuel tanks of ships sailing in the Arctic. Heavy fuel oil is also one of the world’s dirtiest fuels, a waste product of the refining process. It is almost impossible to clean up in the event of a spill, and produces high levels of black carbon when burnt. Black carbon emissions accelerate the melting of Artic ice and contribute to climate change. Given the severe risks that heavy fuel oil poses to polar environments, the international shipping community has already banned its use in the Antarctic. It is now time to extend that ban to the Arctic.