NEAFC Falls Short Of Deep Sea Protection



30th annual meeting of the North
East Atlantic Fisheries Commission
(NEAFC) ended today, with countries
agreeing to prohibit fishing for deep-sea sharks but  failing to agree on
significant, additional measures to safeguard vulnerable deep-sea species and
ecosystems. While NEAFC has made considerable progress since 2006 in closing
areas on the high seas south of Iceland to bottom fishing, it is has yet to
establish effective regulations to ensure sustainable deep-sea

“While we commend NEAFC for prohibiting fishing for deep-sea
sharks, we are disappointed that those some protections were not extended to
other deep-sea species and ecosystems that continue to be seriously threatened
by deep-sea bottom fishing,” said Andrea Kavanagh, director of deep-sea conservation for the Pew Environment Group.

NEAFC meeting took place two months after the United Nations General Assembly
began debating actions taken by NEAFC and other regional fisheries management
organizations (RFMOs) to protect the deep sea. The UN adopted a series of
resolutions over the past seven years, committing high-seas fishing countries
and RFMOs to urgently protect such species and ecosystems from the harmful
impacts of deep-sea fishing, in particular bottom trawl fishing.

week, the European Union put forward proposals to prohibit fishing for orange
roughy and 17 species of deep-sea sharks.  The proposal to prohibit fisheries
targeting deep-sea sharks, amongst the most vulnerable deep-sea species, was
adopted.  The proposal to ban fishing for orange roughy, based on a
recommendation from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, was
supported by Iceland and Norway, but was not adopted by NEAFC because of
opposition from Denmark (the Faroe Islands) and Russian.

“We are disappointed that NEAFC did not do more this year to protect deep-sea
ecosystems and sustainably manage deep-sea fisheries, although we were pleased
that the meeting this year was much more open to NGO participation than in the
past,” said Matthew Gianni, policy adviser for the Deep Sea Conservation

NEAFC will conduct a review of its regulations on deep-sea fishing in 2012. A
recent report* by the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) indicated
substantial shortfalls in NEAFC regulations on deep-sea fisheries. “We urge
NEAFC to ensure that the regulations are revised next year to ensure full
implerementation of the UNGA resolutions,” said Arni Finnission, Iceland Nature Conservation

The Pew Environment Group, Iceland Nature Conservation Association and the
DSCC urge NEAFC to require that all deep-sea bottom fishing be subject to prior
environmental impact assessments and that deep-sea fish species, including those
that aren’t of commercial value but are caught as “bycatch”, are conserved.

*Unfinished business: a review of the implementation of the provisions of
United Nations General Assembly resolutions 61/105 and 64/72, related to the
management of bottom fisheries in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Available


The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition was founded in 2004 to address the issue
of deep-sea fishing on the high seas in the absence of an effective governance
regime. The coalition is made up of more than 70 NGOs, fisher organizations, and
law and policy institutes committed to protecting the deep sea.

The Pew Environment Group is
the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental
organization (NGO) that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based
policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands and promote clean

The Iceland Nature Conservation
Association (INCA) was established in May 1997. It is conservation NGO, with the
primary objective of conserving and protecting the wilderness of Iceland. INCA
focuses on fisheries issues by co-operation with the Deep Sea Conservation
Coalition, and called for strictest possible implementation of scientific
recommendations for fisheries management in Icelandic waters.


 Photo: Deep Sea Fish Orange Roughy ( Wikipedia)

File:Orange roughy.png
No higher resolution available.


~ by narhvalur on November 14, 2011.

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