Seas At Risk is currently participating in the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) Annual Meeting. Opening statement from SAR,WWF and DSCC can be found at the bottom of this article.

Responding to the preliminary findings of a new scientific report published on November 9th, which describes a systematic failure by fisheries managers to protect the deep oceans, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), of which Seas At Risk is a member, has said it is time to halt unregulated deep-sea bottom fishing .

The report, entitled ‘The Implementation of UN Resolution 61/105 in the Management of Deep-Sea Fisheries on the High Seas,’ finds that the measures taken to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the deep oceans of the high seas are at best inadequate and at worst non-existent. Lead author of the report, Dr Alex Rogers of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), described the deep-sea fisheries as ‘virtually unmanaged’ and at serious risk of depletions and potential extinctions.

The report examines the data available from Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), the bodies tasked with implementing the United Nations (UN) Resolution. Matthew Gianni, Policy Advisor to the DSCC said “The UN resolution was designed to provide protection for vulnerable deep-sea areas in lieu of a moratorium. The RFMOs studied in the report have failed to implement it, comprehensively and without exception. The only alternative is to impose a temporary prohibition on all bottom fishing in these areas until the RFMOs do what they have been told to do and prove that they can fish responsibly.”

Next week, the Sustainable Fisheries resolution negotiations recommence at UN headquarters in New York to determine further recommendations needed in this year’s General Assembly Resolution to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems. Matthew Gianni noted that: “The UN Secretary General’s own report has already concluded that implementation of the resolution is inadequate and this new scientific analysis confirms that. The negotiations should acknowledge this failure and the need for a new, stronger approach to enforcing protection for these seriously imperiled deep sea areas.”

Photograph by Lucy Kemp, Marine Photobank.

Among the few positive signs from Barcelona, was tangible progress on emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors, with the debate moving into real negotiation mode and Parties coalescing around options.

Crucially, a number of African countries spoke up and highlighted how revenues from shipping and aviation could serve as an additional source of climate finance and the EU responded warmly to this call.

Twelve years after Kyoto EU states have agreed a 2020 target for GHG emissions from shipping that allows a substantial increase in emissions over 1990 levels.

Photo by Gerick Bergsma 2009/Marine Photobank

Reuters news story (21/10/09).

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