Greenpeace today applauded the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) for its drastic but responsible call for a complete overhaul of deep-sea fisheries management in the North Atlantic. ICES is recommending that no new deep-sea fisheries are allowed until they can be shown to be sustainable, and that existing deep-sea fisheries are significantly cut back (1).
"Unfortunately, the ICES recommendations confirm what we have
beensaying all along: that deep-sea fisheries are in deep, deep
trouble, "said Karen Sack, Greenpeace Oceans Policy Advisor.
Deep-sea fisheries are considered particularly vulnerable
tooverfishing because they are slow growing and slow to reproduce.
ICESis the oldest intergovernmental organisation coordinating and
promotingmarine research in the North Atlantic, Baltic and North
Sea. Itprovides recommendations to 19 countries and is a meeting
point forover 1600 marine scientists.
The European Community is responsible for more than half of all
highseas bottom trawl catches worldwide, most of which occurs in
the NorthAtlantic. Bottom trawling is widely recognised as the
mostdestructive fishing method currently in use.
According to Saskia Richartz, Greenpeace EU Marine Policy
Advisor, "itis time for the European Union to take responsibility
for itsactions. To start, it should support the establishment of a
UNmoratorium on high seas bottom trawling so that it can put the
ICESrecommendations to overhaul deep-sea fisheries management
Negotiations are currently underway at the United Nations on how
toprotect sensitive deep-sea habitats from the impacts of high
seasbottom trawling. But many states, including some from
theEuropean Union, are claiming that negotiators reached a
'gentleman'sagreement' last year to wait two years before taking
action on thisissue.
According to Sack, "it's unbelievable to think that
thesedecision-makers may ignore urgent scientific advice because of
abehind-closed-doors agreement that they made among themselves.
Thereare too many examples of fisheries mismanagement already. The
ICESfindings show that scientific evidence clearly supports the
need forimmediate international action now to protect deep-sea
life. Thequestion is whether the policy makers will act or wait
another yearwhile they allow the destruction to continue."
Other contacts: Karen Sack, Greenpeace International Oceans Policy Advisor in Washington DC, + 1 202 415 5403 (mobile);Saskia Richartz, Greenpeace EU Marine Policy Advisor in Brussels + 32 2 274 19 02 (w) or + 32 495 290 028 (mobile)
Notes: 1. The full ICES Report can be found at www.ices.dk2. Greenpeace is a member of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition which is calling for immediate action at the United Nations General Assembly for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling - the most destructive fishing method currently practiced, and biggest threat to deep-sea life. For more information, go to:www.savethehighseas.org.