A European Parliament resolution on the EU strategy for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change has upped the stakes on targets for marine bunker emissions.

The forthcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen provides the world's leaders with the opportunity to reach an agreement that is truly a show of leadership.

The Lisbon Treaty has important effects on the way fisheries measures will be adopted.

The way fisheries decisions will be taken once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force on 1st December 2009 will change.

The EU Fisheries Ministers failed to reach any agreement on a new technical measures regulation at their November meeting.

International shipping emissions are a substantial and fast-growing source of emissions. They were left out of the Kyoto Protocol because Parties were unable to agree a methodology for allocating emissions to individual countries.

ICCAT slashes blue fin tuna quotas by a third, thereby rejecting a complete ban.

Environmentalists are bitterly disappointed at ICCAT's decision to not place a complete moratorium on fishing blue fin tuna, which is an endangered species.

Seas At Risk is currently participating in the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) Annual Meeting. Opening statement from SAR,WWF and DSCC can be found at the bottom of this article.

Responding to the preliminary findings of a new scientific report published on November 9th, which describes a systematic failure by fisheries managers to protect the deep oceans, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), of which Seas At Risk is a member, has said it is time to halt unregulated deep-sea bottom fishing .

The report, entitled ‘The Implementation of UN Resolution 61/105 in the Management of Deep-Sea Fisheries on the High Seas,’ finds that the measures taken to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the deep oceans of the high seas are at best inadequate and at worst non-existent. Lead author of the report, Dr Alex Rogers of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), described the deep-sea fisheries as ‘virtually unmanaged’ and at serious risk of depletions and potential extinctions.

The report examines the data available from Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), the bodies tasked with implementing the United Nations (UN) Resolution. Matthew Gianni, Policy Advisor to the DSCC said “The UN resolution was designed to provide protection for vulnerable deep-sea areas in lieu of a moratorium. The RFMOs studied in the report have failed to implement it, comprehensively and without exception. The only alternative is to impose a temporary prohibition on all bottom fishing in these areas until the RFMOs do what they have been told to do and prove that they can fish responsibly.”

Next week, the Sustainable Fisheries resolution negotiations recommence at UN headquarters in New York to determine further recommendations needed in this year’s General Assembly Resolution to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems. Matthew Gianni noted that: “The UN Secretary General’s own report has already concluded that implementation of the resolution is inadequate and this new scientific analysis confirms that. The negotiations should acknowledge this failure and the need for a new, stronger approach to enforcing protection for these seriously imperiled deep sea areas.”

Photograph by Lucy Kemp, Marine Photobank.

Among the few positive signs from Barcelona, was tangible progress on emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors, with the debate moving into real negotiation mode and Parties coalescing around options.

Crucially, a number of African countries spoke up and highlighted how revenues from shipping and aviation could serve as an additional source of climate finance and the EU responded warmly to this call.

Twelve years after Kyoto EU states have agreed a 2020 target for GHG emissions from shipping that allows a substantial increase in emissions over 1990 levels.

Photo by Gerick Bergsma 2009/Marine Photobank

Reuters news story (21/10/09).

Seas At Risk held a one day conference on capacity reduction and fleet restructuring, which took place in Brussels on the 21st of October 2009.

Towards sustainable European fisheries: The double challenge of restructuring and reducing the fishing fleet.


The Common Fisheries Policy is currently being reviewed and overcapacity has been identified as one of the most serious problems by the European Commission. Seas At Risk agrees with the Commission’s analysis but feels that an important angle of the reduction debate is being neglected: the quality of the fleet that should result of reduction efforts. A revised CFP will have to take the opportunity not only to reduce capacity, but also to reduce it in such a way as to keep the most low impact sectors of the fleet and cut the most destructive and unsustainable fleet sectors.

The conference addressed the link between capacity reduction and sustainability criteria.

The objectives of the conference were:

- To convey the message that the reform of the CFP presents the ideal opportunity to not only reduce fishing capacity, but also to restructure the EU fleet so as to obtain a low impact, climate friendly and socially responsible fleet.

- To define what sort of fleet is to be desired as an end result – should social and environmental criteria play a role in the decommissioning process?

- To identify adequate management tools which can deliver such a fleet.

The audience was be made up of policy and decision makers, NGOs and industry, and the conference programme included substantial discussions on how to best reach environmental, social and economic targets while reducing and restructuring the Community's fishing fleet.


Please feel free to contact Natalie Kontoulis (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for any further information.