2 November 2013
Source: The Guardian
Author: Richard Branson
The fates of some of our oldest and most mysterious natural treasures will hang in the balance tomorrow as members of the European Parliament's committee on fisheries vote on a future deep-sea fishing regulation for the northeast Atlantic. It is a game-changing moment for the deep ocean. The EU has the world's biggest deep-sea fishing fleet. If it adopts a strong new deep-sea access regime that protects vulnerable marine creatures and habitats, and stops the horrendous by-catch of more than 100 of non-target species, it will be a turning point in the fight for sustainable fishing and ocean conservation.
The EU can choose to lead the world in preserving the unique, and largely unexplored, wonders of the deep sea. Or it can allow a relatively small number of fishing vessels to continue to crush millennia-old ecosystems with giant nets and steel plates for very little or no profit.
UK MEPs are at the centre of this decision. Of the 25 members of the committee on fisheries, five from the UK: Struan Stevenson, John Stuart Agnew, Chris Davies, Diane Dodds and Ian Hudghton could make or break the result. UK citizens should be watching very closely and demand that our representatives support a healthy ocean, and a sustainable and viable fishing industry.