The 7th UN Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of the Sea met in New York from 12-16 June to discuss the ecosystem approach to managing human activities in the oceans.
A new publication by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and TRAFFIC confirms the position of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) that regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) are not a panacea to stop the devastation of vulnerable deep-sea marine ecosystems by bottom trawlers operating on the high seas. (1)
The international fisheries meeting in Wellington today ended disappointingly with states failing to take any action to protect life in the deep sea from the destruction caused by high seas bottom trawling. Scientists are warning that species are being pushed to extinction by high seas bottom trawling before they’ve even been named. “Environment groups and thousands of people from around the world called on states to take urgent action and issue a temporary ban on bottom trawling in the international waters of the South Pacific while negotiations are under way,” said Cath Wallace of the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) “Instead they have chosen to sit on their hands and sacrifice deep-sea life while talks continue for many years.” “The failure to implement a temporary ban again shows that Regional Fisheries Management Organisations are unable to deal with the destruction of life in the deep sea.
58 Australian marine scientists have sent a letter to the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard urging him to “take advantage of an historic opportunity to secure significant protection for the world’s deep-ocean ecosystems on the high seas” by promoting the negotiation of a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling at this year’s United Nations General Assembly. (1) A week earlier, over 100 international marine scientists, conservationists and biodiversity experts attending the International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1) sent a letter to Australian Ministers for the Environment and Fisheries, Senators Ian Campbell and Ian MacDonald, urging them to stop deep sea destruction by supporting a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. (2) The letter was also sent to Heads of State attending the Pacific Islands Forum and delegates to the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which met last week in Hobart.
In a letter to EU Fisheries Minister Franz Fischler and the External Affairs, Environment and Fisheries Ministers of all EU Member States, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition expressed deep concern “if the European Union were to advocate that the UN FAO and/or Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) take the lead in resolving this issue.”