The Pew Charitable Trusts and its partners in the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition are working to end destructive deep-sea fishing practices around the world, most notably bottom trawling. Our focus into 2014 is to achieve major improvements to ecosystem and habitat protections in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, where both exclusive economic zones and the high seas are heavily targeted by deep-sea fishing fleets. The campaign has seen initial success toward that goal: On July 19, 2012, the European Commission proposed legislation that would phase out deep-sea bottom trawling and bottom gillnet fishing by EU fleets in the northeast Atlantic over two years. Pew is now advocating for the European Parliament to pass—and European Member States to adopt—that legislation.
The Commission’s proposal follows a series of U.N. General Assembly resolutions, dating to 2004, that call on fishing countries and regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to urgently protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from the destructive impact of bottom fisheries on the high seas. Much of what the U.N. resolutions ask States and RFMOs to do is contained in the European Commission proposal. Those provisions also align directly with the objectives set by Pew.
Specifically, we ask the European Union, North Atlantic Fishery Organization and North East Atlantic Fishery Commission to:
Regulate all fishing operations below 400 meters and the catch of all deep-sea species.
Phase out the use of destructive fishing practices and gear in the deep sea.
Require that impact assessments be performed before deep-sea fishing is allowed and that more-detailed fishing plans be submitted to the relevant RFMOs before fishing.
Implement area closures where significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems are known or are likely to occur.
Effectively manage fishing capacity and effort in deep-sea fisheries.
Improve reporting, monitoring, and compliance in these fisheries.