Member countries of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) must not backtrack on their own commitments to urgently decarbonise the shipping sector at a key meeting held virtually next week.

Responding to reports that the annual freeze of the Laptev Sea is delayed, and is being driven by prolonged heat in northern Russia and the intrusion of Atlantic waters into the Arctic, the Clean Arctic Alliance reiterated its call to world leaders to take urgent action to slow Arctic heating ahead of this month meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75), calling for  at least a 60% global greenhouse gas emissions, and a 90% cut to black carbon emissions in the Arctic. [1,2].

NGOs warn that thousands of common dolphins in the Bay of Biscay face horrific deaths in fishing nets this winter if the EU Commission does not step in with emergency measures to reduce bycatch, the single largest cause of harm and death to these dolphins today. Despite the legal requirement to protect this species and scientific recommendations [1] to close the fisheries responsible for the catches in this area, France and Spain are refusing  to do so [2]. 

Seas At Risk welcomes the steps taken today by the European Commission to end overfishing in the North-East Atlantic for some of the  stocks fished by the EU only. Regrettably, it did not follow scientific advice for all stocks, specifically for pollack in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian waters, or sole in the west of Ireland, which runs counter to the EU legal obligation to end overfishing of all EU fish stocks by 2020

90,000 dolphins have died in fishing nets in the northeast Atlantic in the past 30 years. Shockingly, more than 18,500 of these died in the past two years alone,in French waters in the Bay of BiscayWith peak strandings occurring between December and March each year, no measures are in place to prevent unnecessary dolphin bycatch and death this coming winter

Hopes for bold action to reduce the global shipping sector’s huge greenhouse gas emissions were dashed this week when a ‘business as usual’ draft text was approved.

Responding to the European Commission’s proposal for deep sea fishing limits for 2021-2022, published today [1], NGOs welcome the positive steps towards following scientific advice. However, the proposal does not go far enough to ensure protection and allow the recovery of these very sensitive and unique species, some of which are the most vulnerable known to humankind. NGOs urge European decision-makers to set fishing limits for deep sea fish populations in line with scientific advice, the precautionary approach and considering the negative impact of fishing for these species on fragile deep-sea ecosystems [2].

Environmental NGOs this morning welcomed the decision of EU Fisheries Ministers to set Baltic fishing limits for 2021 in accordance with scientific advice for eight of ten fish populations in the Baltic, but reflect that this result is largely due to the strong position of the European Commission, and warn that today’s result is still not enough to save the herring, cod or Baltic Sea ecosystem and communities that depend on them [1].

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition – of which Seas At Risk is a steering member -  recently hosted Deep Sea TV, an online event that kicked off the first Deep Week, a whole week dedicated to celebrating the deep sea.

Seas at Risk, together with over 230 civil society organisations, communities and academics, has signed an open letter urging the European Commission to realign strategies on raw materials with the interests of the planet and communities.

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