Members of the EU Parliament’s Fisheries Committee in industry pocket, fail to derail deep sea protection legislation

Date: June 18, 2013

Members of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) attending a Parliamentary Hearing to debate new deep-sea fisheries legislation designed to protect vulnerable ocean habitats, have criticized the proceeding as a deliberate effort designed to delay the push for protection.Mathew Gianni of the DSCC said: “This was a clear and determined attempt to delay the adoption of new legislation to protect deep sea habitats and ensure sustainable deep-sea fisheries.  There is an urgent need for the European Parliament to get on with the job of drafting this legislation but the deep-sea trawl fishing industry’s supporters on the Fisheries Committee lead by Parliamentarians from France, Spain, the UK and Ireland attempted to halt it in its tracks.

They have already caused one major delay and may try to do so again in the next few months but fortunately the Committee voted today to proceed without further delay to at least the next step in the process.”

Both the European Commission and the lead MEP in the Fisheries Committee are proposing strict regulation of deep-sea fisheries including a phase-out of bottom trawling and bottom gillnet fishing for deep-sea species.

This morning the EU Commission indicated that only a relatively small number of vessels would be affected by a phase-out of deep-sea bottom trawl fishing and that more deep-sea sharks were caught in EU bottom trawl fisheries than in bottom longline fisheries, the latter being a gear type recognized to have a far lesser impact on deep-sea habitats than bottom trawls.

The DSCC is calling for a new EU regulation that would require strict limits on the catch of deep-sea species, prohibition on the bycatch of the most vulnerable species such as endangered species of deep-sea sharks; protection of deep-sea ecosystems through prior environmental impact assessments of deep-sea fisheries and a phase-out of bottom trawl and bottom gillnet fishing in the deep-sea.

For further information contact Matthew Gianni in Brussels on + 31 6 4616 88 99

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