Strasbourg, 14th November 2006. The European Parliament today called for a determined Europe-wide effort to combat marine pollution and the impact of destructive and unsustainable fishing, shipping, offshore oil & gas, and coastal and offshore construction activities, all of which present an escalating threat to Europe’s seas.

Strasbourg, 14th November 2006. The European Parliament today called for a determined Europe-wide effort to combat marine pollution and the impact of destructive and unsustainable fishing, shipping, offshore oil & gas, and coastal and offshore construction activities, all of which present an escalating threat to Europe’s seas.

Seas At Risk welcomes the Parliament's stance on the Marine Strategy Directive, which demands tougher action than that contained in the rather vague original proposal of the European Commission. The vote comes just a week after an eminent study warned of the impending collapse of global fish stocks and marine ecosystems by 2050 (Worm et.al., 2006).

The Parliament backed a number of significant changes to the Directive: it brought forward to 2017 the deadline for member states to clean up their marine environments; it set specific and legally binding criteria for a European definition of “good environmental status” applicable to oceans and seas; and created the possibility of fast-track pilot projects for regions such as the Baltic where member states are keen to press ahead with protection measures.

The amended Directive also aims at a better integration of environmental concerns into other Community policies, enabling Member States to require EU-wide action if, for example, fishing activities are proving an obstacle to their efforts to achieve ‘good environmental status’ in their waters.

Joint-NGO press comment following EP Plenary vote on the Marine Strategy Directive (14/11/06).

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