A group of experts on marine litter has advised EU countries on setting reduction targets for marine litter for 2020. Member States now have 6 months to act on this advice and set ambitious reduction targets in order to combat this growing problem.

The protection of the world’s oceans look set to be given greater prominence at Rio+20, but the recently published draft outcome document needs significant strengthening if this important opportunity is to result in the urgent actions that are needed to save our seas.

A new brochure produced by Seas At Risk and other european ENGOs gives an up-to-date overview of what is happening at the UN and EU level on air pollution from ships and provides recommendations on how to cut emissions quickly and significantly.

Fisheries Ministers have once again missed their opportunity to place European fisheries on the path to sustainability. Fisheries Council negotiations on fishing limits for 2012 have resulted in a decision to set Total Allowable Catches (TACs) at a level which exceeds scientifically recommended limits.

In advance of the Fisheries Council meeting this week at which fishing limits for 2012 will be set, Seas At Risk is calling on EU Fisheries Ministers to follow the best available scientific advice and set limits that enable the EU to achieve its target of rebuilding fish stocks to sustainable levels by 2015.

Just under ten years ago, North Sea Ministers acknowledged that a new approach would be needed to minimise the impact of commercial shipping on the environment.

Today the European Court of Auditors has released a report which severely condemns the way in which EU fisheries subsidies aimed at reducing fleet overcapacity have been used so far. The Court has found that billions of Euros of public expenditure have done little to align fleet capacity with available fishing opportunities.

Last week’s COP17 conference on climate change ended with a deal made in extra time that promisingly prolongs the fate of the Kyto Protocol but does nothing to ensure the deep, immediate cuts in GHG emissions that are needed to protect our oceans now.

It is estimated by scientists that around 250 billion pieces of plastic are swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. With this in mind, it’s good to know there are solutions at our disposal and on Seas At Risk’s educational website Learn2sea.org we’ve uploaded some excellent new materials for teachers, children, adults, industry and NGOs to discover more!

It’s nearly 20 years since the first “Earth Summit” was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. A tenth anniversary event was held in 2002 and preparations are now well underway for the twentieth anniversary conference in that same Brazilian city. Terrestrial issues have traditionally dominated these events but with UNEP identifying “global ocean collapse” as a key emerging issue, Rio +20 must also become the first global "Oceans Summit".

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