The meeting provided a platform for dialogue between key representatives of the Italian scientific community, the administration and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Mr. Menicucci welcome participants and gave a general opening about the state of the marine environment and the significant pressures which Europe’s seas and oceans continuously face.
Mr Bertelletti then took the floor to present the state of the deep sea file and the position of Italy, followed by Ms. Panella presenting an overview of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, The relevant United Nations General Assembly resolution and the Italian campaign and social media actions.
Professor Pusceddu presented the study from Nature, “Ploughing the deep sea floor”, as well as his own study “Chronic and intensive bottom trawling impairs deep-sea biodiversity and ecosystem functioning”. The latter shows that that bottom trawling along continental slopes has a major impact on deep-sea sedimentary ecosystems, causing their degradation and infaunaldepauperation, as well as significant decreases in organic matter (up to 52%), slower organic carbon turnover (ca. 37%), and reduced meiofauna abundance (80%), biodiversity (50%), and nematode species richness (25%).
Mr Berteletti again took the floor to note that on 20 June 2014, Greece will hand over the Presidency of the European Union to Italy, which means that it will be then Italy who will draft and express the Council opinion. He continued that Italy is aware of the problems presented by Ms Panella and Professor Pudescu.
The overall discussion provided interesting room for dialogue and inputs to the Ministry. A new EU regulation for the Northeast Atlantic, incorporating these key elements would be one of the EU’s most significant legislative achievements for the conservation of the marine environment.
• Mauro Berteletti: Head of Research and Marine Resources Department at the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries,
• Professor Antonio Pusceddu: Researcher at the University of Ancona
• Matthew Gianni: Co-founder and Political and Policy Advisor for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC)
• Domitilla Senni: Consultant for the Pew Charitable Trusts
• Eleonora Panella: Consultant for the Deep Sea conservation Coalitions and the Pew Charitable Trusts
• Maurizio Menicucci: Moderator, RAI journalist
• Stefano Cataudella: Chair of the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean and long standing fisheries adviser to the Italian Government,