Enviromental NGOs urge Fisheries Ministers to expedite “new scenario fo ocean life”

Press Release Date: April 26, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Baiona, Spain –.The environmental organizations, Ecologistas en Acción, Greenpeace, Oceana, Seas At Risk and WWF present in Baiona (Spain) at the Ministerial gathering of 47 countries from the five continents[i]  emphasize   the ministers’ recognition that “a new scenario for the seas and the oceans” is urgently needed and that the chronic overcapacity of fishing fleets worldwide must be eliminated. Environmental NGOs working to protect the world’s oceans have consistently argued that a paradigm shift is needed in order to restore their biodiversity.

In a planet, including the oceans, undergoing overwhelming impacts resulting from climate change, it is essential to preserve the resilience and to seek the recovery of marine life, said the five NGOs.

Governments will be successful in preserving and restoring ocean life and the well being of coastal fishing communities only if their action includes the following steps:

1.- Eliminate overcapacity of the fishing fleets as well as harmful subsidies which are key drivers for the current unsustainable situation

2.- Establish and maintain an international network of interconnected representative Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

3.- Follow the best available scientific advice and implement the precautionary approach.

4.- Eliminate destructive fishing gear and practices, including bycatches and wasteful discards

5.- Ensure full traceability of fisheries products in order to allow consumers to make informed choices, as well as to ensure that no IUU caught fish enters the market

6.- Effectively combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, among others by strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance, implementing existing international agreements and regulations and removing financial contributions, assistance and government support to vessels, companies and nationals failing to meet their obligations.

7. – Fill remaining gaps in high seas governance, including through the adoption of an effective international regime which ensures the conservation of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

8. – Ensure that in applying the above measures the needs and rights of small scale fishing communities are taken into account.

 Today’s ministerial conference was preceded yesterday by a “summit on sustainable fishing” with NGO as well as fishing industry participation, at which consensus was reached on several key issues, including the need to eliminate the overcapacity of the fishing fleet and the reduction of fishing efforts, undertaking actions to eliminate illegal fishing, and shifting to a comprehensive approach that protects marine ecosystems as a whole.