9 December 2015
To: Representatives of the European Parliament, Council, and Commission
Re: Priorities for trilogue negotiations on a regulation for deep-sea fishing in the northeast Atlantic
We welcome recent progress towards agreeing a regulation to protect a uniquely vulnerable environment, three years after the European Commission issued its proposal and nearly two years since the European Parliament’s first reading was adopted.
As the European Parliament, Council and Commission prepare for the second formal trilogue negotiation meeting, we write to set out our proposed way forward on some key differences between the Council and Parliament positions.
In particular, we strongly recommend that you agree measures that:
We also recommend that you support provisions to stipulate a rigorous process for identifying and closing areas to bottom fishing where vulnerable marine ecosystems are known or likely to occur; to establish a strictly delineated footprint; to require impact assessments for deep-sea bottom fisheries; to require observer coverage on deep-sea trawlers; and to establish a strong sanctions regime to deter non-compliance. Finally, the need to end the overfishing of deep-sea stocks and measures to avoid or prevent the bycatch of non-target deep-sea species, in particular the most vulnerable, should be reflected in the regulation.
The current regulation for the management of EU deep-sea fisheries in the northeast Atlantic has failed to protect vulnerable deep-sea marine ecosystems from highly destructive fishing practices, maintain most deep-sea stocks inside safe biological limits and restore some of the most vulnerable and depleted fish populations in the region.
We join over 300 scientists and hundreds of thousands of EU citizens in urging limits to damaging deep-sea bottom trawling and rely on you to conclude negotiations for a regulation that ensures sustainable deep-sea fisheries and the protection of the marine environment.