November 4th, 2013
After months of dark political tactics to try to jeopardize the deep-sea fishing regulation, the Members of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee have finally voted today on the Deep Sea Access Regime and secure a majority for the text to be voted in Plenary by the 766 members of the European Parliament. The Plenary vote is scheduled for the week of December 9, 2013.
The vote comes as no surprise given that the industrial fishing lobbies had obtained the support of a majority of members (13 out of 25). The result is a text that does not adequately respond to the threats posed to deep-sea ecosystems by industrial vessels. The ban on deep-sea bottom trawling and gillnetting was watered down in exchange for measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems that are in line with the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly of the United Nations for the management of deep-sea bottom fisheries on the high seas, and which Europe had supported.
“It’s very disappointing to see that the members of the Committee on Fisheries missed the opportunity to ban deep-sea bottom trawling in Europe although this fishing method does not benefit anyone but costs taxpayers on top of destroying marine biodiversity” said Claire Nouvian, founder of the non-profit organization BLOOM. “However, it’s a relief that the Committee voted unanimously (minus a few abstentions) to send this regulation for a vote in Plenary. The responsibility now lies with the 766 MEPs to set an ambitious roadmap for the protection of the deep ocean. This European Parliament has had an almost flawless record by voting to end overfishing in Europe and shark-finning on board vessels of the European Union. They just need to vote the elimination of the most destructive deep-sea fishing methods to leave a perfect legacy behind them.”
Members of who took the train from Paris to Brussels this morning discovered the giant posters that BLOOM hung at the Gare du Nord, which invite them to say “NO” to destructive deep-sea fishing. The European Parliament has one month to show that Europe can take control of its future and defend the common good against individual interests.
BLOOM will produce a precise analysis of the vote shortly.
In March 2013, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted by an overwhelming majority (58 votes against 1) the elimination of the most destructive fishing practices beyond 200 meters of depth: http://www.bloomassociation.org/en/industry-attempts-to-sink-deep-sea-fishing-regulation-at-the-european-parliament-2/
On November 3rd in The Guardian, Richard Branson called on MEPs to vote with ambition in order to protect the deep ocean and eliminate the most destructive fishing methods:
BLOOM’s petition to French President François Hollande for the protection of the vulnerable deep sea (France blocks the file in Council):