EU's Damanaki calls for high seas biodiversity protection treaty

15 April 2013

Source: UPI.com

An updated U.N. treaty governing the exploitation of deep-sea bioresources is urgently needed, EU Maritime Affairs Commissioner Maria Damanaki says.

Damanaki, speaking Thursday at a U.N.-sponsored conference in Paris, called for "decisive action" to "move forward" on a revision of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea -- which governs the high seas beyond national jurisdictions -- to include the protection of marine biodiversity.

Her call came as private companies and scientific teams are stepping up "bioprospecting" in deep-sea areas, seeking sometimes rare marine organisms whose molecular compounds and unique properties can be used in anti-cancer pharmaceuticals, food and other potentially lucrative commercial fields.

That has led to fears of over-harvesting, physical disruptions of fragile ecosystems and pollution in the absence of an updated UNCLOS to protect the diversity of deep-sea marine life.

The European Union, Damanaki said, "is committed to protecting the oceans. Sustainability is a key word here. Oceans can deliver smart, green and sustainable growth.

"We need to make sure that resources are harvested rationally and fairly. We are not there yet. It is now time to take decisive action and move forward."

For more, go to: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2013/04/15/EUs-Damanaki-calls-for-high-seas-biodiversity-protection-treaty/UPI-96991365998580/