Voices Raised for Deep Seas

Date: May 27, 2009

The DOALOS Review of UN General Assembly Resolution 61/105 is increasing interest in deep-sea issues this year, with an important debate scheduled for the latter part of 2009.

In preparation for this, a number of events have taken place to reinvigorate the international community’s commitment to stronger protection.

Hosted by Ambassador, H.E. The Hon. Robert Hill of Australia, the first of these events was held at the Australian Mission in New York and was attended by 30 UN Ambassadors, UN mission, and NGO representatives. The event was addressed by Lisa Speer of DSCC member, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Actress and activist, Sigourney Weaver. Lisa Speer called for concerted action by governments to address the pressing issue of deep sea bottom trawling and also commended Ambassador Hill for his years of leadership on oceans conservation issues. Sigourney Weaver, who has supported action on bottom trawling before, spoke of her abiding commitment to ocean conservation.

The DSCC also hosted a luncheon for permanent representatives and ocean experts from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), in appreciation for past support, and highlighting important related events in 2009. The Forum is an inter-governmental organization created to enhance cooperation and represent the interests of Pacific countries. Its members include Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Lisa Speer and Peggy Kalas represented the DSCC at the meeting, which was attended by Ambassador Robert Hill (Australia) and Ambassador Stuart Beck (Palau), along with many oceans experts from independent PIF countries.

At the behest of Palau and following the Nadi Declaration in 2006, PIF was the first regional grouping of governments to call for a halt to bottom trawling, culminating in the 2006 UN Resolution 61/105. During the luncheon, Ambassador Beck addressed the group, reminding all about the importance of continuing the effort in 2009, pointing out that the 2006 resolution was a compromise. Following this, attendees discussed the upcoming review of UN GA 61/105, with one mission representative commenting “this review will set the standard, so it’s important that governments get it right.” The DSCC can only concur!

61/105 called on fishing nations and regional fisheries management organizations to adopt and implement measures to protect deep sea vulnerable marine ecosystems by December 31, 2008. The subsequent actions taken will be noted in the UN Secretary-General’s report to be released later in 2009, followed by a review with further recommendations as needed.

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