As the High Seas Task Force proposed a global database to track down illegal fishing vessels as one of nine initiatives to close the net on modern day pirate fishers, Greenpeace revealed that European governments are turning a blind eye to unregulated fishing vessels flying European flags.
A new study published in Nature has revealed serious declines in deep water species targeted for commercial fishing in the Northwest Atlantic. The study examined population trends in five species of deep water fish along the continental slope in the Atlantic waters of Canada caught in research trawl surveys between the period 1978 and 1994. Of those studied, two species – the roundnose grenadier and the onion-eye or roughhead grenadier – are commercially valuable. The remaining three species – blue hake, spiny eel and spinytail skate – are taken as bycatch in other fisheries, primarily the deep-water trawl fisheries for Greenland halibut and redfish.
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.
On 18 and 19 April, Dr. Sylvia Earle met with Spanish scientists and government officials to advocate that Spain, a major fishing nation, has an opportunity to act constructively for the conservation of deep sea marine biodiversity by supporting a UN General Assembly moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.
Last year, UNEP designated the “Ocean – Dead or Alive” as the central theme of World Environment Day (5 June) and the publication of the report “Cold Water Corals – Out of Sight but no Longer Out of Mind”, stressed the need to protect cold water corals.
– Bangkok, Thailand.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress has adopted a resolution calling for United Nations (UN) action to protect the world’s oceans from high seas bottom trawl fishing.
– Bangkok, Thailand. A global coalition of conservation organizations today called on members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) attending the World Conservation Congress (WCC) to agree to a resolution that will help protect deep sea biodiversity on the high seas.