President Barroso says that the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is an opportunity for "root and branch reform" during the Spring Alliance conference.

The Spring Alliance is a broad-based movement pushing for an EU that places people and planet at the centre of policymaking. It was established by four leading civil society organisations – the European Environmental Bureau (a member of Seas At Risk), the European Trade Union Confederation, Social Platform and Concord – and is composed of groups and individuals from civil society and beyond.

Civil society representatives came together at the European Economic and Social Committee at a High Level Conference with participation of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, the European Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas and Ola Alterå, State Secretary to Maud Olofsson, Minister for Enterprise and Energy of Sweden.

During his intervention, Mr Barroso expressed support for the Spring Alliance manifesto text on unsustainable fishing, which was drafted by Seas At Risk. The President of the Commission said that the Spring Alliance was right to highlight unsustainable fishing in the document. He added:
“In April this year, we launched a major debate on the future of the Common Fisheries Policy. We are legally bound to review certain elements of it in 2012, but have decided to seize the opportunity for a root-and-branch reform. “
Mr Barroso added that “we must make ecological sustainability the basic premise of the policy; economic and social sustainability will follow from that. “

He also used the opportunity to express his disappointment at the fact that Member States did not unanimously back a proposal to the support the temporary ban on international trade in Atlantic blue fin tuna under CITES. The European Commission have backed the proposal originally made by Monaco as an attempt to protect the species from extinction.

Six countries in the Mediterranean region have stood in the way of co-sponsoring a proposal on a ban on trading blue fin tuna.

Despite the European Commission deciding to support Monaco’s proposal to ban trade in blue fin tuna, Malta, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, France, and Greece blocked the initiative. The rest of the 27 EU Member States either supported or remained neutral on the proposal.

Environmental organisations present at the Ministerial gathering of 47 countries from five continents emphasize the fisheries ministers’ recognition that “a new scenario for the seas and the oceans” is urgently needed.

The European Commission has delivered its first progress report on maritime policy, two years after its launch.

The aim of integrated maritime policy is to get many of the different bodies responsible for the different elements involved in maritime policy to cooperate.

The 5th World Conference of Fisheries Ministers will take place in Bayona, Spain on Tuesday 16th September. More than 60 Fisheries Ministers from five continents will meet to adopt a ministerial declaration bound to guide the future policy of sustainable fishing worldwide.

Commissioners Joe Borg and Stavros Dimas have backed a proposal to suspend international trade of Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna to protect ailing stocks from overfishing.

The European Commission agreed to adopt a joint position supporting a proposal submitted by Monaco in July to list Atlantic bluefin tuna on Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Faunas and Flora), which would effectively ban international trade of the species.

The UN Secretary General Review of UN resolution 61/105 was published today.

The report, requested by the UN General Assembly, outlines the measures taken by high seas fishing nations to implement a 2006 UN General Assembly resolution designed to protect deep-ocean biodiversity from the harmful impact of deep-sea bottom trawling and other methods of bottom fishing.

Many Swedish fishermen have applied for subsidies to scrap their boats.

In the UK it is estimated that 20% of west coast fishermen would welcome a similar scheme.

The European Union has given three quarters of the funds to the decommissioning programme in Sweden, which aims to reduce Sweden's capacity to catch cod by 50% by 2015.

Marine scientists from California are venturing out into the Pacific to find out more about the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch".

A research vessel carrying a team of about 30 researchers, technicians and crew members embarked on Sunday on a three-week voyage from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, based at the University of California at San Diego.

Marine pest species costing billions in damage to fisheries, coastal communities and infrastructure are spreading as the world’s shipping nations continue to largely neglect bringing into effect an international treaty setting out requirements for consistent handling and treatment of ships’ ballast water.

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