Brussels, 18th December 2013. Fisheries Ministers yesterday evening agreed surprisingly fast on fishing opportunities for European fish stocks in 2014, but failed in many cases to follow scientific advice.
The Ministers’ decisions will see 27 stocks harvested according to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in 2014, bringing this up to 30 stocks in 2015. This shows some progress, compared to the 25 in 2013, but given that all stocks in EU waters should be managed according to MSY from 2015 on, much remains to be done.
Brussels, 12th December 2013 -- On the 14th anniversary of the 'Erika' shipwreck and four years after the adoption of the Erika III Package, Surfrider issued a ‘White Paper on Maritime Safety’ to provide food for thought on the need to bring about a new legislative package on maritime safety in Europe.
In the wake of the Prestige oil tanker disaster off the coast of Galicia in 2002, Surfrider Foundation Europe (SFE) decided to focus on the fight against pollution from maritime transport. For over 10 years, Surfrider has been protecting European coastlines through its programme to prevent accidental water pollution, through its lobbying of public decision-makers and by developing its legal action strategy against discharges by vessels.
On a European and international level, numerous laws and regulations have been adopted to make maritime transport safer. Unfortunately, these are all too often the result of an environmental disaster.
In November 2012, SFE published a report on maritime safety in Europe, aimed at maritime transport stakeholders and at the general public. The goal of the report was to highlight the shortcomings and discrepancies in existing law, and to encourage all concerned parties to be more proactive with regards to the risks. The report was approved by the European Commission and has been consulted by more than 2,500 people. It is available for download in English, French and Spanish at www.prestige10th.com.
On 22 and 23 November 2012, to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the Prestige, SFE organised a transnational conference on maritime safety. NGOs, scientific and legal experts and representatives of local communities who have suffered maritime pollution were given the opportunity to shed light on the topic and share their expertise. The event was one of the first in the process of informing a new legislative package on maritime safety in Europe. Following on from the previous ‘Erika packages’ (EU legislation on oil transport safety), Surfrider has initiated an enhanced dialogue with the various stakeholders, in particular with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions.
Based on the recommendations resulting from the November 2012 conference, several think tanks and editorial working groups were formed in order to participate in the drawing up of a white paper on maritime safety. The aim of the draft ‘towards an Erika IV package’ is to put maritime safety back on the European agenda.
This initiative would only be the starting point of a pan-European project, which would involve member states’ authorities, the European Parliament and Commission, and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds. One of the main objectives is to achieve greater consideration of ecological factors.
The white paper deals with four separate topics: consideration of ecological priorities; consideration of human factors; emerging risks; and the idea of a European flag for shipping.
Brussels/ Strasbourg 12th December 2013 – The Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management Directive was voted today in the European Parliament, with a final outcome that falls short of what is needed to support effective protection of the marine environment.
Strasbourg/Brussels, 10th December 2013 --- The European Parliament voted today and undermined efforts to protect the deep sea from the most destructive fishing practices with the narrow adoption of a weak compromise agreed earlier in the Fisheries Committee by 342 to 326 votes.
“This is a very disappointing moment for the marine environment, leading to waste one of the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet”, said Dr Monica Verbeek, Executive Director of Seas At Risk. “While the Council decided to stick the head in the abyss and not even look at the file, the Parliament decided to delay any solution for at least 7 years.”
The European Commission announced today that it will introduce new measures aiming to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags across Europe.
The Fisheries Committee voted on 4th November on the much delayed report revising the management regime for deep sea fisheries in the North-East Atlantic. The Committee disappointed the environmental community by failing to agree on measures to phase-out the most destructive fishing activities.
The European Commission presented the initiatives it intends to take to reduce plastic waste. These include a ban on landfilling, strengthen recycling targets, and a proposal to be released in two weeks on limiting single-use plastic bags.
The Global Ocean Commission (GOC) – an independent commission aimed at tackling issues facing the high seas - is seeking views on how to reverse degradation of the oceans and restore them to full, sustainable productivity.
Every year in August and September, volunteers across Europe devote part of their time to clean up beaches and coastal areas in their neighborhood. This summer, many members of Seas At Risk have organised cleanup days with activities wrapping up in the third week-end of September (20-22nd), coinciding with “Cleanup the World Day”.
SAR member the Marine Conservation Society is calling for members of the public to respond to a public consultation run by the Scottish Government on a draft marine litter strategy.
Undermining the recent EU agreement on the reformed Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing (CFP), the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament today voted to restore EU subsidies for building new fishing vessels.
SAR’s French member, Surfrider Foundation Europe has today issued a call for a ban on single use plastic bags, on International Bag Free Day 2013.