Tuesday, 24 July 2012

EU to ban destructive deep sea fishing?

European Commission calls for ban of destructive deep-sea fishing in the Northeast Atlantic
July 2012. Greenpeace has welcomed a plan presented by the European Commission to ban some of the most environmentally damaging fishing practices, under a review of EU rules governing deep-sea fishing in the Northeast and Central Atlantic. The Commission wants to phase out licences for deep-sea trawling and gillnet fishing in the area over the next two years, acting on a long-standing pledge request by the United Nations to end destructive fishing in some of the world's most sensitive and rich ecosystems.
Most destructive, fuel-intensive and subsidy-dependent fishing activities
Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz said: "Deep-sea bottom trawling and gillnet fishing rank among the most destructive, fuel-intensive and subsidy-dependent fishing activities. A relatively small number of boats have devastated some of the world's most fragile and rich ecosystems, with European taxpayers footing the bill."
Extensive damage
Gillnet fishing commonly involves using static or drifting nets with a mesh size (or holes) narrow enough to trap fish. Deep-sea trawling involves the destructive dragging of large, heavy nets across the seafloor. Scientists have identified extensive damage from trawling at 200-1400 metres in depth along the Atlantic shelf off the coasts of Ireland, Scotland and Norway. Most deep-sea stocks exploited by EU fleets in the Northeast Atlantic are seriously depleted, according to EU assessments. Bottom trawling also has one of the highest rates of bycatch of non-target species in the European fleet, with up to half of what is caught being discarded.

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