Environmental Initiatives

Media Inquiries

If you are a journalist and would like additional information, please visit the Media Contacts page.

Media Contacts

Subscribe to News Feeds

Pew offers news delivered to your desktop via RSS feed. Subscribing is easy. To learn more or get started, follow the link below.

Subscribe to News Feeds

For The Record

When Pew’s work is questioned or criticized we respond through letters to the editor or op-eds.

Read Pew's Responses

Will New EU Fishing Regulations Stop Destruction of Deep-sea Life?

Other Resource

The challenge of ending destructive fishing practices

The European Parliament has a chance next Tuesday, December 10th, to take new steps to protect highly vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems from destructive fishing practices. Doing so would build on earlier actions and help meet broader goals set by the United Nations.

Since 2006, the UN General Assembly has repeatedly called on all fishing nations to manage fish stocks sustainably and to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from destructive practices such as bottom trawling. Many scientists, marine conservation organisations, and a growing number of small-scale fishers also have made clear that they oppose the destruction of marine life on the seabed that results from these fishing practices.

In recent years, the European Union, or EU, has moved to eliminate certain destructive deep-sea fishing methods in European and international waters. One case in point: the use of bottom gillnets below 600 meters has been prohibited in EU waters since 2007. In addition, bottom trawling and gillnetting below 200 meters is prohibited in EU waters off the Azores, Canary and Madeira islands. Several regional fisheries management organisations, of which the EU is a leading party, also have prohibited or limited the use of such practices in their deep waters.  

The European Commission’s 2007 review of EU deep-sea fisheries management recognised the problem, saying that “many deep-sea stocks have such low productivity that sustainable levels of exploitation are probably too low to support an economically viable fishery”. As a result, the European Commission started a review of the current and flawed EU deep-sea fisheries regulation. On July 12, 2012, it published a proposal to establish new conditions for fishing deep-sea stocks in the Northeast Atlantic. The main objectives are to protect highly vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems from destructive fishing practices, prevent the depletion of deep-sea species, set science-based and precautionary catch limits on deep-sea stocks, and eliminate the bycatch, or incidental catch, in these fisheries. If adopted, this strong proposal would mark a significant turning point in the management of deep-sea fisheries in Europe.

In March 2013, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Commission’s proposal. The vote was 51 to 0, with one abstention. Yet the Fisheries Committee—the Parliament’s lead committee on this issue—hindered progress by postponing its vote several times. The delays have begun to jeopardise the proposal’s survival as Members of the European Parliament increasingly focus their attention on the May 2014 elections.

On November 4th, the Fisheries Committee finally voted on a suite of measures that would help protect vulnerable deep-sea species and ecosystems such as corals, sponges, and seamounts. But it rejected the proposal from the European Commission to phase out the most destructive deep-sea fishing practices, including deep-sea bottom trawling. This method is widely recognised as the greatest threat to deep-sea biodiversity and fish populations. The report adopted by the Committee will be considered by the plenary of the European Parliament on December 10th.

“It’s now up to the 766 members of the European Parliament to represent the broader opinion of all European citizens, and support the Commission in phasing out the most destructive deep-sea fishing methods,” said Matthew Gianni, policy advisor to the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and The Pew Charitable Trusts. “We all have a stake in a healthy, biologically rich, and productive deep sea and the benefits it supplies to the planet. Conserving it will be a great legacy.”

The Fisheries Council, made up of fisheries ministers from the 28 EU member states, has yet to determine its position on the proposal. Council discussions have not started.

 

Related News and Resources

  • Sea Life in New South Wales at Risk

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 11, 2014
    A controversial plan by the New South Wales government to allow recreational fishing in marine sanctuary areas could undermine decades of progress that protected the state’s most important underwater areas and unique species, and provided well-documented economic benefits.

    More

  • Pew Comments on Offshore Angler Permit Proposal

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 10, 2014
    On behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts, Chad W. Hanson, Officer of the U.S. Oceans Southeast, submitted comments to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regarding the proposed Gulf Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit (offshore permit).

    More

  • Pew Praises Ratification of Treaty to Fight Illegal Fishing Worldwide

    • Press Release
    • Apr 03, 2014
    The United States Senate on April 3 took a strong stand in the global fight against illegal fishing by ratifying a treaty that will prevent illegally caught fish from entering the market through ports around the world. The treaty, called the Port State Measures Agreement, or PSMA, also would empower port officials to prohibit foreign vessels that are suspected of illegal activity from receiving port services and access. By cutting off market access for illegally caught fish, the treaty will erode the profit incentive that drives the activity.

    More

  • Protecting the High Seas From Peril

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 01, 2014
    All the activity in the open ocean raises questions about who is monitoring and managing the ocean’s long-term health. As of now, the job is vacant, which is why delegates from around the world are at the United Nations in New York City this week.

    More

  • Climate Change Taking Toll on the Ocean

    • Other Resource
    • Mar 31, 2014
    A United Nations panel released its latest assessment of the impact of climate change on the world’s environment, focusing on issues such as food supply and economic security.

    More

  • EU Bans Fish Imports from 3 Countries

    • Press Release
    • Mar 24, 2014
    Today the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and WWF welcome a decision by the European Union Fisheries Council, comprising all 28 fisheries ministers, to ban the importation of fish from Belize, Cambodia, and Guinea for their failure to cooperate in fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated, or IUU, fishing.

    More

  • Exxon Valdez Spill, 25 Years Later

    • Other Resource
    • Mar 21, 2014
    Just before midnight March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Alaska, causing the largest oil spill in U.S. history to that point. In the weeks that followed, a shocked world watched as the tanker spewed approximately 11 million gallons of oil into the formerly pristine and delicate Prince William Sound.

    More

  • Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management

    • Fact Sheet
    • Mar 20, 2014
    Ensuring the long-term health of important marine species will depend upon our ability to understand and account for the interactions among those species, their environment, and the people who rely upon them for food, commerce, and sport.

    More

  • Protecting New England's Marine Ecosystem: Habitat at Risk

    • Other Resource
    • Mar 12, 2014
    Some areas of New England’s waters have been closed to various types of fishing gear for decades in order to encourage the return of healthy populations of important groundfish (such as cod, haddock, and flounder), but the region does not have a plan for habitat management, as required by federal law.

    More

  • Pew le otorga al científico Hoyt Peckham la beca de investigación 2014 en conservación de recursos marinos

    • Press Release
    • Mar 12, 2014
    El Dr. Hoyt Peckham, un pionero en la incentivación de la pesca artesanal para promover el manejo de los recursos marinos con sede en La Paz, México, ha recibido una beca de investigación Pew 2014 en la conservación de dichos recursos marinos para ampliar su trabajo en la incentivación de la pesca sostenible a lo largo de la costa del noroeste de México a otras comunidades de la región y a nivel mundial. Peckham está trabajando con los pescadores locales y sus cooperativas para restablecer el valor de sus pesquerías, reforzando sus prácticas de sostenibilidad mediante el aumento de la demanda de sus mariscos y sus pescados.

    More

  • On the Front Lines: Pew Names 5 New Marine Conservation Fellows for 2014

    • Other Resource
    • Mar 12, 2014
    Five distinguished scientists and conservationists based in Malaysia, Chile, Mexico, and the United States are this year’s recipients of the Pew fellowship in marine conservation.

    More

  • Pew Awards Author Paul Greenberg the 2014 Fellowship in Marine Conservation

    • Press Release
    • Mar 12, 2014
    Paul Greenberg—an award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller, Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food—has been awarded a 2014 Pew fellowship in marine conservation to prepare a book focusing on the human demand for Omega 3 fatty acids found in seafood and its impact on the sustainability of the world’s oceans.

    More

  • Pew le otorga al científico chileno Stefan Gelcich la beca de investigación 2014 en conservación de recursos marinos

    • Press Release
    • Mar 12, 2014
    Se ha reconocido al Dr. Stefan Gelcich, profesor adjunto de la Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile con una beca de investigación Pew 2014 para la conservación de recursos marinos en un nuevo proyecto que examinará los incentivos sociales, económicos y ecológicos que permitan desarrollar zonas de protección, en conjunto con pescadores artesanales, a lo largo de la costa chilena. Este científico estudiará la integración de áreas marinas protegidas y pesquerías con derechos de uso territorial, como una estrategia para la conservación a largo plazo de los recursos oceánicos y su sostenibilidad.

    More

  • Pew Awards Shark Scientist Demian Chapman the 2014 Fellowship in Marine Conservation

    • Press Release
    • Mar 12, 2014
    Demian Chapman, Ph.D., a scientist with Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has been awarded a 2014 Pew fellowship in marine conservation for a new research project to determine how recently enacted international regulations affect the trade in the fins of protected shark species. Sharks have been heavily fished to supply the international fin trade, depriving marine ecosystems of some of their most important top predators and endangering species dependent on them.

    More

  • Pew Awards Scientist Hoyt Peckham the 2014 Fellowship in Marine Conservation

    • Press Release
    • Mar 12, 2014
    Hoyt Peckham, Ph.D., a pioneer of incentivizing artisanal fishing to advance marine stewardship based in La Paz, México, has been awarded a 2014 Pew fellowship in marine conservation to expand on his work on incentivizing sustainable fishing along the coast of Northwest Mexico to other communities in the region and around the world. Peckham is working with local fishers and their cooperatives to restore value in their fisheries, reinforcing their sustainability practices by increasing demand for their seafood.

    More

See more...

X
Sign In

Member Sign In

Forgot Password?
Submit Not a Member? Join!
X

Forgot Password?

Send Password Not a Member? Join!
X

Change Password

X
(All Fields are required)
Send Message
Share this on: