London, 13th November 2006. The North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) will hold its 2006 Annual Meeting from the 13-17th November. On the agenda is a prohibition for orange roughy fisheries (pictured) and a freeze on the expansion of deep-sea fisheries into new, un-fished areas of the North East Atlantic.

London, 13th November 2006. The North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) will hold its 2006 Annual Meeting from the 13-17th November. On the agenda is a prohibition for orange roughy fisheries (pictured) and a freeze on the expansion of deep-sea fisheries into new, un-fished areas of the North East Atlantic.

In its opening statement to the meeting Seas At Risk has called on NEAFC not only to adopt these measures, but also to agree a number of other urgently needed measures to protect deep-sea species and habitats.

This year’s International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) advice to NEAFC includes the prohibition of directed fisheries for blue ling and deep-water sharks, minimisation of their by-catch, and closure of known spawning grounds. ICES is also recommending a considerable reduction in fishing effort for species such as tusk, roundnose grenadier, ling and black scabbard fish. Given the poor state of the stocks and the slow recovery of deep-sea species, Seas At Risk is urging NEAFC to take ICES advice seriously and stop postponing these urgently needed measures.

Seas At Risk is also demanding the closure to bottom fisheries of areas on the Rockall and Hatton Banks that have been identified by ICES. There is now ample evidence of cold-water corals occurring in these areas, and bottom trawling is known to be highly destructive of these vulnerable habitats.

To deepen its involvement in the process, Seas At Risk is also urging NEAFC to improve transparency and open NEAFC Working Group and Committee meetings to observers.

Seas At Risk will be present at the Annual Meeting as an official Observer, and will report here on significant developments.

More information on NEAFC and the 2006 Annual Meeting, including Seas At Risk's opening statement, can be found on Seas At Risk’s NEAFC web page.

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