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.”

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.”

While some elements of the report can potentially contribute to the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems and to the management of deep sea species, the plenary decided to delay any desperately needed measure on deep sea bottom trawling and deep sea gillnetting to potential measures in 5 years’ time, to be followed by a political adoption process.

This resembles the delay the parliamentary process has been suffering due to efforts of the deep-sea trawling sector.

Other elements adopted comprise the obligations to reduce bycatch of deep sea species, improve the scientific basis for quota decisions, and mandatory environmental impact assessments in existing and new fishing areas.

The plenary report should now be discussed in the Council. When negotiations will finally start remains to be seen, with the Parliament’s legislative period coming to an end and European elections scheduled in May next year.

For more information, contact

Bjorn Stockhausen, Seas At Risk Policy Officer, mobile +32 470 604 509

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