Speaking in Berlin on the marine environment and next year’s Rio +20 conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel compared the current economic troubles to the crisis being faced by the world’s oceans. At the same conference, the Seas At Risk Executive Director called for German leadership.

Speaking in Berlin on the marine environment and next year’s Rio +20 conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel compared the current economic troubles to the crisis being faced by the world’s oceans. At the same conference, the Seas At Risk Executive Director called for German leadership.

According to Merkel, the financial crisis was caused by 30-40 years of unsustainable living and could be compared to the critical state of the marine environment that has resulted from years of unsustainable exploitation and other human impacts, with the difference that it will be harder to deal with the oceans crisis. The Chancellor called for a discussion on oceans and mentioned her worries about the risk of living on the edge of an irreversible and deteriorating process.

Merkel was speaking at an event organized by the German Parliamentary Group CDU/CSU in preparation for next year’s Rio +20 conference. Other speakers included the European Maritime and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, the German Minister for Environment Dr. Norbert Röttgen, the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Dr. Robert Kloos and Seas At Risk Executive Director Dr. Monica Verbeek.

GERMAN LEADERSHIP ESSENTIAL

Shortly after Merkel’s speech, SAR Executive Director Monica Verbeek called on Germany to take the lead in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

She argued that because of Germany’s political weight in the EU, the country has an important political responsibility to ensure that EU policies are environmentally sound. She said that as one of the Member States taking the conservation of the marine environment seriously, Germany should play an active role and raise its voice in favour of suitably stringent conservation rules, especially in EU negotiations on the reform of the CFP.

In that context, Dr. Verbeek said that setting fishing limits in accordance with scientific advice needed to become a legal obligation in order to restore stocks to above levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield. She also mentioned the necessity to act on a range of marine issues, including on ship GHG emissions, marine litter and sustainable fisheries.

LEADING UP TO RIO +20

The action plan established in 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg includes the aim to restore and maintain fish stocks to sustainable levels that can produce MSY where possible no later than 2015.

The Rio +20 conference provides an opportunity to re-energize efforts at a global level to protect and restore the world’s oceans since efforts at both the Johannesburg conference but also the landmark 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.

 

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