The Seas At Risk "Climate & Oceans" conference took place in Brussels on the 5th November 2008. The speakers drew the attention of the public to the marine impacts of climate change and the mitigation challenges facing the fishing and shipping industries.

The Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation last week described the impacts of climate change as an “Orwellian” prospect, but failed to convince developing nations of the need for IMO action on greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Good Environmental Status (GES) is the key concept of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. By 2020, Member States must take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain GES in their marine waters. The Directive foresees 11 descriptors of GES, with which Member States will have to comply.

Seas At Risk has been involved in the negotiation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) since the beginning. With its entry into force, SAR's efforts have shifted to its implementation process.

It is generally acknowledged in the academic and NGO world that small-scale fisheries are for the most part more sustainable than industrial-scale fisheries; unfortunately they have been forgotten and their potential ignored as policy-makers have struggled to make industrial fisheries more sustainable.

The International Maritime Organisation's Antifouling System Convention entered into force today, some seven years after its adoption.

The Convention, which bans the use of Tributyltin (TBT) based antifouling paints globally, and contains a regime for restricting the use of other harmful antifouling paint technologies, met the requirement of ratification by 25 States representing 25% of the world's shipping tonnage last year. The Convention was adopted in London in October 2001 but the ratification process has been slow with the first of the large flag States (Panama) only ratifying in 2007. The Convention has now been ratified by 34 States representing 53% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage.

The EU’s Council of Fisheries Ministers yesterday agreed an emergency response to the fuel price “crisis” that has the right aims but includes too many potentially counter-productive measures.

After a race against the clock the European Commission put together the package of emergency measures endorsed by the Council. It is not clear why after months of raising fuel prices, all of a sudden the measures had to be rushed through Council before the summer break. Such haste resulted in the adoption of measures that will relieve the fishing sector in the short term, but will probably back-fire in the long term.

Seas At Risk and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition welcome today's agreement by the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission to protect deep-sea corals and other sensitive ecosystems from bottom fisheries.

An "extraordinary" meeting of the Commission took place in London this week involving North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) member countries Norway, Iceland, Russia, the Faroe Islands and Greenland and the European Union.

In a new report the World Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation calculate the losses of the world's fishing fleet due to poor management and depleted fish stocks at 50 billion US dollars per year.

Greenpeace, Seas At Risk and WWF are disappointed with today’s decision by the European Court of First Instance not to protect the waters of the Azores from a significant increase in commercial fishing.

The region supports a diverse range of marine life, including turtles, sharks, whales and dolphins and deep-sea corals, and is especially vulnerable to intensive fishing activities like trawling and longlining. The Court has ruled in favour of a 2003 decision by the Council of Ministers to open one of Europe’s best preserved deep-sea environments to the fishing fleets of all EU member states. Previously these waters were only fished by vessels from the Azores and few from mainland Portugal.

China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and India have continued to obstruct and undermine every substantial proposal for tackling GHG emissions from shipping at an IMO meeting in Oslo his week.

The International Maritime Organisation’s special greenhouse gas working group meeting, which concluded today, was tasked with carrying forward a number of key initiatives aimed at reducing GHG emissions from shipping. Despite constructive proposals from the European Commission and EU states, progress on an emissions trading scheme and a levy on marine bunker fuel were blocked entirely, while China and others took every opportunity to weaken and delay plans for design and operational indexes that would reduce CO2 emissions from new and existing ships respectively.