Oceana backs Sweden’s move to protect the Kattegat
Press Release Date: June 21, 2016
Oceana welcomes a proposal by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM), to permanently protect the debated fisheries closure in the Kattegat by upgrading its protection to a marine protected area (MPA). At a time of obvious tensions between Sweden, Denmark and the fishing industries, with increasing Danish pressure to reopen the previously bottom trawled area in Swedish waters, SwAM’s recommendation signals a clear move by Sweden in favour of stronger marine habitat protection and rebuilding depleted fish stocks.
Just last month, Oceana, together with five other NGOs, called on SwAM to take a more public stance on recent discussions on the reopening of the area to bottom trawl fishing. This scenario would have a detrimental impact on vulnerable soft-bottom communities that have re-inhabited the area since the closure was put in place, and which provide food and shelter for many other species, including Kattegat cod.
“We are delighted that SwAM has finally voiced its opinion on the Kattegat and that it has listened to the scientific community. By taking SwAM’s advice and declaring parts of the debated Kattegat closure as a marine protected area, the Swedish government would not just be safeguarding marine habitats but also driving forward efforts to recover depleted fish stocks from years of destructive bottom trawling”, said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director for Oceana in Europe.
SwAM has also proposed to create several other new MPAs, some of which overlap with Oceana’s proposals for marine protection in the Kattegat and in the Baltic Sea. At present, only 6.6% of Swedish waters are covered by MPAs, and so even with the new proposed areas, Sweden will not yet have reached the international 10% minimum target.