Still work to do to protect the deep sea
09 Aug 2016
The United Nationals General Assembly (UNGA) recently took part in a workshop to review the implementation of a set of landmark resolutions adopted by the General Assembly.
Over the last ten years, the General Assembly has been calling for action by States to prevent damage to deep-sea ecosystems from destructive fishing practices.
Matthew Gianni, from the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), said: “These reviews at the level of the United Nations are important to hold States accountable for the commitments they’ve made to the international community to protect deep-sea ecosystems on the high seas from the harmful impacts of fishing”
He added: “Unfortunately, what we’ve learned at the workshop this week is that while progress has been made, these resolutions have not been fully implemented after 10 years.”
The report found significant improvements in State’s ability to prevent damage from destructive fishing practices over the last decade, but concludes that implementation of the UNGA landmark Resolutions falls short and leaves vast parts of the ocean unprotected from destruction by deep-sea bottom trawling.
Duncan Currie from DSCC said: “It is very clear what the protection of marine biodiversity requires. No assessments should mean no bottom fishing, and no measures should also mean no fishing.”
“Assessments, stock assessments and managing bycatch are the core business of fisheries management organizations, and it is high time that this was done.”
The analysis shows that there are areas where the requirements of the resolutions remain either partially or entirely unfulfilled, this leaves a vast area of the ocean unprotected.
Many of the impact assessments that have been carried out for bottom fisheries in the high seas are not consistent with globally agreed standards, while cumulative impact assessments have not been conducted in any region.
“The United Nations World Ocean Assessment stated that the deep sea contains the largest source of biodiversity on the plane,” explained Katie Schleit, from the Ecology Action Centre, also a member of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.
She concluded: “Partial measures for such an important area of the global commons are not acceptable. States and regional fisheries bodies need to continue to implement these resolutions as a matter of urgency.”
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