Five Spanish NGOs delivered to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Isabel García Tejerina, a petition signed by thousands of people for the defense of deep-sea ecosystems.
The Coalition for the Conservation of Deep Waters (DSCC, for its acronym in English), Ecologists in Action, Greenpeace, Oceana and WWF have informed the Minister Isabel García Tejerina that 11,737 citizens have signed a petition promoted by these organizations urgently calling for a better regulation of deep-sea fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic. Delivery matches their meeting today in Brussels representatives of EU governments to discuss this matter.
Negotiations on this regulation have been plagued by delays. The proposal was issued by the European Commission in July 2012 and put to a vote in the European Parliament in December 2013 but the Council of Fisheries Ministers of the EU has yet to agree on its position pending. Today, representatives of the 28 EU member states will meet to try to reach a conclusion. ” We urge European governments, especially Spain, to be proactive to agree without further delay new regulations for deep sea fishing to ensure both the conservation of species and ecosystems. Spain, a leader in these fisheries is also responsible for maintaining species and deep-sea ecosystems in good condition “ , according to Javier Lopez, marine scientist at Oceana.
Luxembourg, which currently holds the presidency in the EU Council, is committed to advance these negotiations and submitted a compromise proposal which, inter alia, includes a depth limit for the use of bottom trawling. Spanish trawlers in the NE Atlantic rock grenadier capture target species, deep-water species in the IUCN Red List classified as endangered. “The limitation of use based on a depth is an effective measure for both conservation vulnerable ecosystems and to minimize the catch of unwanted species, some as vulnerable as deep-sea sharks, as noted in a recent scientific study. Similar measures already exist in the Mediterranean, for example, “ says Raul Garcia of WWF.
The different Spanish NGO, with the support of thousands of citizens, asking the government to urgently contribute to better regulation of deep sea fishing to manage and protect vulnerable ecosystems and the species that inhabit them effectively. ” Freezing the fishing footprint is only one further step towards the protection of these ecosystems. We need more structured and systematic measures for locating and mapping of vulnerable ecosystems, even within the fishing footprint “ says Alex Bartoli DSCC coordinator in Spain. “The most harmful fishing gear for this environment as bottom trawling or gillnets must give priority to gear more selective and less destructive fishing, “ added Celia Ojeda, head of Greenpeace oceans and fisheries.
“The support shown by the Spanish citizens to petition the government sends a clear message of concern for some fishing practices and poorly regulated in deep waters,” says Samuel Martin-Sosa, head of the international area of Ecologists in Action.