Habitat Protection - Oceana Europe

Protecting Essential Fish Habitats

Coral gardens, kelp forests, sponge beds, sea grass meadows, and seamounts are all Essential Fish Habitats—places where fish spawn, breed, feed and mature. They should be protected.

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Protecting 30% of the Ocean

The target to protect 30% of the world's marine habitats by 2030 can only be reached if sustainable fishing practices are put in place and Marine Protected Areas are truly protected and properly managed.

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Phasing Out Bottom Trawling in European Waters

The extensive use of bottom trawling by fishing fleets in European waters causes more direct and avoidable damage to the ocean floor than any other human activity. It is the most unselective and destructive fishing gear, and its continuous use has led to drastic and, in some cases, irreversible degradation of marine ecosystems. To add to this, it amplifies climate change.

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Habitat Protection

Since 2005, Oceana has carried out 29 at-sea research expeditions in the Atlantic, the Baltic, and Mediterranean seas to collect data and prepare formal protection proposals, including measures to ensure the recovery of degraded ecosystems, the preservation of endangered marine biodiversity, and the establishment and management of new Marine Protected Areas.

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.”

In many cases, however, European MPAs lack effective management, and remain mere ‘paper parks’ that provide little to no actual protection at sea. For example, an Oceana analysis of European MPAs revealed that nearly three-quarters of sites were affected by one or more threats, including maritime traffic and fishing; and those not affected represented only 0.07% of the total ‘protected’ area.

Oceana is campaigning to widen the protection of Europe’s waters through the designation of new MPAs, including no-take zones, and other Fisheries Restricted Areas. We work to improve the enforcement of current regulations and to manage fisheries sustainably in these areas, by using data from our at-sea research to build the case for strengthening marine protection in all European MPAs and other vulnerable areas that deserve protection. Oceana campaigns for an ambitious network of well-managed MPAs to help restore marine habitats and species, rebuild fish stocks, and strengthen their resilience to climate change.

Accomplishments

December, 2020

Scotland Creates New Marine Protected Area

November, 2020

Spanish Supreme Court Upholds Expansion of Mediterranean’s Second-Largest Marine National Park

Reports & Factsheets

Around the Web

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REPORT: Paper Parks in Spain - Bottom trawling inside marine protected areas

REPORT: Was Article 11 of the CFP doomed to fail?

REPORT: Seamounts: Giants in danger

REPORT: Unmanaged = Unprotected: Europe’s marine paper parks

REPORT: Habitat protection under the Mediterranean Sea Regulation: A missed opportunity?

REPORT: Unprotected Marine Treasures: An Oceana proposal to protect 15 marine biodiversity hotspots in Europe

Habitat Protection in Europe: Protecting the North Sea

FACTSHEET: 2018 Ready-to-use science for EFH designation in the Mediterranean

FACTSHEET: Using “big data” to evaluate MPA effectiveness – the case of reefs in EU