20 November 2013
The New Economics Foundation releases a report on deep-sea fishing
20 November 2013
The New Economics Foundation (NEF) published on November 19th, 2013 a report on deep- sea fishing entitled Deep Trouble. This briefing presents the economic, social and environmental case for a phase-out of deep-sea trawling.
Vulnerable deep-sea species and habitats are subject to some of the most destructive fishing practices still in use by EU fleets. Deep-sea bottom trawling causes significant environmental damage and fails to make a positive economic return. Such activities are heavily subsidised by EU taxpayers. EU authorities now have a chance to stop this waste of economic, environmental and social value. Deep-sea bottom trawling is detrimental not only to deep-sea ecosystems but to our economies, societies and the wider environment. Bottom trawl operators don’t pay these costs – we do.
The costs of the deep-sea fishery in EU waters are disproportionate to its commercial significance, accounting for only 1.5 per cent of the catch in the North-East Atlantic.
- Each tonne of fish caught by deep-sea bottom trawling represents a cost to society of between € 388 and € 494.
- Methods such as long lining could sustain six times as many jobs and are not as harmful to the environment and ecosystems. Researcher Telmo Morato found that the impact of one year of trawling is equivalent to something between 535 and 833 years of longlining. Read Telmo Morato’s presentation at the European Parliament and the publication of his and coauthors’ work in Nature.
- Other elements have not been monetised : a reduction in the ability of deep-sea ecosystems to sustain commercial species in the future ; a decline in ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and waste absorption ; a loss of biodiversity and genetic material of potential use to humans.