New York, 23rd November 2006. Hopes for effective UN action to protect vulnerable high-seas habitats from bottom trawling were destroyed today as a small but influential group of fishing nations led by Iceland blocked a compromise agreement on measures that carried the support of most other fishing nations, of conservationists and of the marine scientific community.

New York, 23rd November 2006. Hopes for effective UN action to protect vulnerable high-seas habitats from bottom trawling were destroyed today as a small but influential group of fishing nations led by Iceland blocked a compromise agreement on measures that carried the support of most other fishing nations, of conservationists and of the marine scientific community.

Many countries around the world, including the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany and Pacific Island states had pushed for a global moratorium on the highly destructive practice of unregulated bottom trawling on the high seas. Although this move was thwarted by powerful fishing nations such as Spain, Japan and Canada, even these countries accepted a compromise deal that would still have offered considerable protection to the most vulnerable habitats such as cold-water coral reefs and seamounts. However, even this deal could not be completed as Iceland pushed for the right to continue destroying deep-sea habitats everywhere.

The negotiated text is part of a broader resolution on sustainable fisheries which will be formally adopted by the UN General Assembly during its annual oceans “debate” on December 7th. Seas At Risk will be calling on States to use that opportunity to announce what they will do in the absence of strong UN-agreed measures.

The final text of the resolution has yet to be published.

Seas At Risk is member of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, a group of more than 60 environmental and conservation organisations from around the world that are campaigning for a UN General Assembly moratorium on high-seas bottom trawling

For the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition web siteFor the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition web site

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