London, 15th June. An extraordinary meeting of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (London, 13-14/6/07) has failed to act on a series of crucial issues, instead agreeing temporary measures until it meets again in November.

London, 15th June. An extraordinary meeting of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (London, 13-14/6/07) has failed to act on a series of crucial issues, instead agreeing temporary measures until it meets again in November.

It reopened redfish fisheries in the Norwegian Sea and maintained the closure of orange roughy fisheries. Discussions on area closures to bottom fisheries for the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems were also postponed until November.

Given that NEAFC is required to review area closures adopted in 2004 and will consider additional closures, Seas At Risk had encouraged the meeting to agree on a process to adopt and implement measures consistent with the 2006 UN General Assembly fisheries resolution, including the closure to bottom fishing of all high-seas areas where vulnerable marine ecosystems are known to exist or likely to occur.

Concerns about the impact of bottom fisheries were also a key issue during the hearing in the case of the Azores against the Council of the European Union yesterday at the European Court in Luxembourg. Seas At Risk WWF and Greenpeace were allowed to make an intervention at the hearing in support of the Azores, in an attempt to protect the fish stocks and unique marine environment in Azorean waters from the fishing fleets of EU states other than the local small scale Azorean fleet. A verdict is expected before the end of this year.

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