For two weeks in July the International Seabed Authority (ISA) held its annual session in in Kingston, Jamaica. The Council and Legal and Technical Commission met first, before 168 member countries gathered for a week-long Assembly meeting. They discussed draft exploitation regulations, methods to calculate financial payment systems and benefit-sharing, and the 2019-2023 strategic plan, among others. The request by Seas At Risk and 50 other NGOs to discuss whether or not there is an objective need for deep sea mining was omitted entirely.

The European Parliament's Environment Committee today voted to strengthen the European Commission’s Plastics Strategy, which aims to reduce plastic pollution and marine litter.

As European political parties prepare for the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, Seas At Risk publishes its ‘Manifesto for the sea, calling on politicians to put the protection of seas and oceans high on their election programmes.

The deep sea is one of Earth’s most precious ecosystems, with a vital role to play in the health of our planet, yet we are squandering it for an outdated drive towards boundless growth. This is the stark warning from Seas At Risk, together with 50 NGOs from across the globe, to the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

Brussels, Tuesday 3 July 2018 - As the International Seabed Authority (ISA) gathers in Jamaica, environmental organisations are calling on governments to wake up to the irreversible harm that deep sea mining will inflict, not only to marine ecosystems but also to global efforts to transition to a sustainable economy.

On 5 June, the Belgian Ministries of Economics and Environment organised an international stakeholder workshop to discuss Belgium’s position on deep-sea mining. Belgium is currently in the spotlight of international deep-sea mining development, as a sponsoring state to an exploration contract signed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in 2013 with the Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR). The contract is for the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, an area more than twice the size of Belgium.

The European Parliament recently approved the own initiative report on sustainable and competitive aquaculture. Regrettably, MEPs failed to take the opportunity to develop a new vision for European aquaculture, instead choosing to simply reiterate the conclusions from EU reports published five years ago.

The next EU legislative period will start in July 2019, from which time the European Parliament will no longer use single-use plastic bottles at its facilities and meetings. On 11 June, the Bureau of the Parliament agreed to include new conditions in its upcoming canteen and catering contract, disallowing the delivery of plastic bottles to Parliament facilities. Instead, the number of drinking water fountains will be extended to facilitate the use of reusable bottles at Parliament facilities.

On Saturday 23 June 2018, a collision between a tanker and the jetty in the Port of Rotterdam - Europe’s biggest seaport, resulted in a heavy fuel oil (HFO) spill. Despite the immediate mitigation actions taken by the crew of the vessel and resources on-shore, 217 tonnes of HFO are estimated to have spilled from the fuel tank. 

The European Parliament has, for the first time, rejected a draft delegated act of the European Commission. The proposed legislation would have enacted the inadequate measures put forward by Belgium to protect its marine ecosystems. In rejecting the draft, the European Parliament sent a strong signal to Member States and the Commission that European nature protection laws must be taken seriously.

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