According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a Marine Protected Area (MPA) is “a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.”
Banning bottom trawling in Europe’s marine protected areas
An area one third of Europe’s continent is impacted by trawling in European waters every year. Bottom-towed gear is widely used in the EU, including inside marine protected areas, with some studies indicating a higher intensity of trawling inside than outside designated areas. Indeed, a recent Oceana study showed that destructive fishing, including bottom trawling, affects 86% of the area designated under Natura 2000 to protect marine habitats.
As the EU is preparing its EU Action Plan on the ocean, planned for end of 2021, Oceana is campaigning to act decisively against destructive fishing. We are calling on EU decision-makers to take bold action and ban bottom trawling in all Europe’s ‘protected’ areas now.
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Oceana's action on bottom trawling
In order to address the need to protect seabeds from such destructive threats as trawling, contamination, anchoring over seagrass beds and illegal fishing, Oceana carries out research and classification campaigns in the marine habitats of the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Once the data is analysed, Oceana scientists compile a formal protection proposal for the areas whose characteristics require it and measures are established to carry out and/or request the recuperation of the degraded environments.
Oceana believes it is necessary to study and create marine protected areas in order to halt the degradation of the marine ecosystems. In addition, the information allows management measures to be established for the activities developed in this environment, including fishing. Consequently, protection can be increased for marine and coastal areas, activities in this environment are balanced and sustainable, and citizens respect and accept the protected areas.