IMO must act to stop new “Super Pollutant” shipping fuels in Arctic and globally. Urgent questions to be answered by oil and marine fuel industry 

Despite decades of warnings, all of the indicators on biodiversity, acidification, fish stocks and pollution point to an international state of crisis.

Our future depends on the protection and restoration of our ocean and seas. The ocean produces more than 50% of the oxygen we breathe, is the main food source for more than 3.5 billion people and regulates our climate. We need marine ecosystems to be rich in fauna, flora and genetic biodiversity so that they can perform their natural functions and help us to mitigate the worst effects of climate breakdown.

Overfishing. Pollution. Acidification. Warming. Our precious ocean and the life that calls it home are now more at risk than ever before.  Ocean Week 2020 - seven days of events, discussions and activities in Brussels and beyond - puts the spotlight on the huge threats faced by marine species and habitats while offering real solutions on how to solve them. We need thriving biodiversity in our oceans to support life on earth. 

EU Fisheries Ministers today failed to meet their legal obligation to end overfishing by 2020, setting fishing limits for the North Sea and North East Atlantic that go beyond the sustainable limits recommended by scientists (e.g. cod in the west of Scotland, Celtic sea sole and pollack in the Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Iberian waters).

Brussels, December 16, 2019:- As EU Fisheries Ministers gather today in Brussels to set fishing levels for the North East Atlantic for 2020, 13-year-old Farrah Delrue and 10-year-old Josephine Seton - representing current and future generations - presented European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, and Minister Jari Leppa representing the Finnish Presidency of the Council, with more than half a million signatures from EU citizens who are calling for an end to overfishing by EU member states. EU Member states are required to end overfishing by 2020, under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) [1,2].

The European Green Deal acknowledges the important role of seas and ocean in the fight against climate and nature collapse. Whether it will manage to counter the relentless push for blue growth remains an open question, with concrete actions and targets yet to be solidified.

We have a new Commission with a mission. The speeches given by President von der Leyen and Executive Vice President Timmermans in the European Parliament on 11 December sounded genuine: the European Green Deal is about caring for planet and people. With its focus on efficiency, technology and innovation, however, the Deal risks a counter-productive ‘green growth’ narrative.

Message to EU Leaders: ending overfishing IS climate action! Responding to an urgent appeal from EU Citizens, five Ocean Avengers - lead by Poseidon, God of the Sea, swooped on Brussels this morning to deliver an urgent ultimatum to heads of state attending an EU Council meeting: “Take emergency climate action now! Instruct your fisheries ministers to end overfishing at next week’s EU AGRIFISH Council Meeting”.

Today President of the European Commission, Von der Leyen, presented to the European Parliament the Communication on the European Green Deal.

Dr Monica Verbeek, Executive Director of Seas At Risk said: “Compared to Mr Juncker’s 10 priorities for the Commission in 2014-2019, the European Green Deal looks like the Von der Leyen Commission took a quantum leap, putting climate and nature high on the agenda. We are concerned however that its ‘green growth’ focus seems to go against the European Environment Agency’s warning that Europe will not succeed in "living well within the limits of the planet" by continuing to promote economic growth.”

On 6 December, the Ocean Action day of the climate summit in Madrid (COP25), Seas At Risk, together with Our Fish, convened a group of ocean experts, including the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, scientists and NGOs, to address how ending overfishing can mitigate climate change. They called for immediate action by the EU and governments worldwide to end overfishing in order to mitigate the impact of climate change on the world’s oceans.

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