NGOs concerns over EU countries’ inadequate response to the bycatch of protected species have now been confirmed by the evaluation of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) [1]. 

As this week’s virtual meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s Pollution Prevention and Response Sub-Committee (IMO, PPR 8) closes today, non-governmental organisations slammed the IMO proposal to develop weak non-binding “goal-based guidelines” instead of taking immediate and effective action to immediately reduce climate-warming emissions of black carbon from ships using heavy fuel oil in the Arctic [1]. 

International NGOs led by the Clean Arctic Alliance have sent an urgent letter to International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General, Mr Kitak Lim, urging him to address the international shipping’s climate impact. The letter, which was also sent to European Council President Michel, President of the European Commission von der Leyen and European Commission Executive Vice President Timmermans, comes ahead of Friday's crucial decision on IMO measures on black carbon emissions in the Arctic.

As this week’s virtual meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s Pollution Prevention and Response Sub-Committee (IMO, PPR 8, 22-26 March) opens today, non-governmental organisations are calling on the IMO to seize the chance to immediately reduce climate-warming emissions of black carbon from ships currently using heavy fuel oil in the Arctic by some 44%, by switching them to cleaner distillate fuels [1,2]. 

Seas At Risk is pleased to welcome Deutsche Stiftung Meeresschutz (German Foundation for Marine Protection) as our newest member, bringing our membership to 32 organisations in 16 EU countries.

The EU Fisheries Control Coalition applauds the positive steps taken by the European Parliament towards more transparent fisheries and traceable seafood. With their vote in plenary this week, EU parliamentarians have called for all fishing vessels to report everything they catch, including sensitive and protected species, which will make data for over 49,000 EU vessels available for the first time. Further, EU vessels will be tracked through electronic monitoring tools, seafood available in the EU market will be digitally traceable from net to plate, and EU Member States will be required to report more transparently on their control measures.

In a letter to environment ministers, Seas At Risk (together with its members BUND, OceanCare and IFAW) and Coalition Clean Baltic decry the weak measures taken by Member States to reduce underwater noise and call for a Europe-wide strategy to avoid and mitigate underwater noise.

2019 saw global awareness of marine plastic pollution and single-use plastic grow exponentially, and 2021 will likely see similar focus on microplastics. 2021 has already seen a series of important steps building momentum towards regulation of the release of microplastics in the environment. In January, the Commission confirmed that impact assessment studies had begun, with a public consultation to take place during the coming spring and summer. This week the EU Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a proposal for the wide restriction of microplastics intentionally added to products. This is just the beginning.

Responding to the Joint US Canada February 26th statement by Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra and United States Transportation’s Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, on their dedication “to working with the IMO to effectively implement the ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel in the Arctic”, Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance said [1]:

In a mixed bag of voting outcomes, the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee (PECH) has called for more transparency around fisheries activities and traceability to seafood supply chains, while simultaneously weakening the existing rules for controlling EU fishing activities.

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