This year’s International Day of Biological Diversity on May 22 is a timely reminder of the fragility of nature. The seventh Global Assessment Report, published on 6 May by the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, clearly shows that the world is on track for the largest biodiversity extinction wave ever recorded in human history. Up to 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction, with plant and animal species becoming extinct at one thousand times the rate before humans existed. The causes of this extinction are undoubtedly human: our way of life is killing Earth’s biodiversity.

Today, environmental organisations all over Europe join forces in responding with great concern to a newly released report from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). Once again the annual report reveals an alarming lack of progress from the EU in implementing the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and honoring the fast approaching deadline to end overfishing by 2020 (1).  

The emerging national debate on the environmental impact of single-use plastic, and its restriction, highlights the need to tackle another major source of marine pollution: microplastics. The European Chemical Agency recently called for a public consultation to restrict microplastics. Seas At Risk calls on Environmental and Health Ministries, civil society organisations and research institutes across Europe to take part in the consultation process and submit arguments and evidence in favour of an ambitious and wide-ranging restriction.

The European Parliament plenary voted today on how to spend approximately EUR 6 billion of European taxpayers’ money on ocean-linked activities under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2021-2027.

This coming week sees a window of opportunity to improve the deplorable state of our seas and oceans. On 4 April, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will decide how the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will use around EUR 6 billion of European taxpayers’ money for ocean-related activities between 2021 and 2027.  

Today, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament decided to reintroduce in the future European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) - which amounts to approximately 6 billion Euros - subsidies which are harmful to the environment and which were phased out already 15 years ago.

As a meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 6) opens today in London, the Clean Arctic Alliance called on Member States to remain focussed to the goal of developing a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by shipping in the Arctic. 

Member States of the European Union are set to fail to protect marine wildlife from the impacts of intense underwater noise levels by 2020, despite a requirement to do so under EU marine law. This is the conclusion of a report reviewing the programmes put in place by European countries to tackle the main threats to our seas and ocean, including underwater noise pollution. The report was undertaken by a group of specialised civil society organisations - OceanCare, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Seas at Risk and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who are extremely concerned over the lack of action.

After years of advocating for strong legislation to effectively reduce marine litter, Seas At Risk today welcomes the adoption of two ambitious pieces of European legislation which will pave the way for a bluer and more sustainable future.

Following a real marathon to deliver before the next EU elections, EU institutions have agreed on the first ever ambitious measures to address both land and sea-based plastic pollution. Seas At Risk considers the recently adopted measures as a first step in the right direction. 

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