Latest News

6
Feb
2019

Source: Phys.Org

A recent paper on the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in northern Europe (“Elevated trawling inside protected areas undermines conservation outcomes in a global fishing hot spot”) reveals that industrial-scale fishing – primarily the use of bottom-trawl fishing – is widespread in so-called protected areas that were established specifically to safeguard highly biodiverse marine and coastal habitats across the North Sea. We welcome this important and timely piece of research. Unfortunately, a number of the press reports that covered this paper’s findings included sensationalist – and misleading – headlines that are potentially very damaging to the cause of marine conservation.

Continue reading When is a Marine Protected Area not a Marine Protected Area?

28
Jan
2019

The Annual Meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) today adopted a measure (regulation) for managing deep-sea fisheries on the high seas of the South Pacific. The regulation will allow New Zealand vessels to continue deep-sea bottom trawling on biodiversity hotspots on seamounts and deep mountain ridge systems on the high seas, putting large percentages of deepwater corals, related ecosystems, and rare species at risk in the Southwest Pacific and Tasman Sea.

At the same time, the meeting reviewed the activities of a New Zealand vessel, the Amaltal Apollo, caught repeatedly bottom trawling last year in an area closed by SPRFMO to protect deepwater corals. Pending the outcome of prosecution against the captain and company, scheduled to begin in February in Nelson, the SPRFMO meeting decided to keep the vessel on a draft list of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels. New Zealand trawl vessels have dragged up many tonnes of corals and other vulnerable deep-sea habitat forming species over the past ten years of deep-sea fishing on seamounts on the high seas according to a report provided to SPRFMO by New Zealand in September of last year.

The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly called on States and regional fisheries treaty organisations, such as SPRFMO, to prevent bottom trawl fishing in sensitive habitats and other areas of deep-sea biodiversity or else prohibit bottom trawl fishing. The UN’s 1st World Ocean Assessment in 2016, in reviewing the status of seamounts worldwide, expressed concern that “deepwater trawling has caused severe, widespread, long-term destruction of these environments globally”.

“We are very disappointed that SPRFMO member countries were convinced by New Zealand and Australia to adopt a deeply flawed regulation that will allow continued degradation and destruction of biologically rich and diverse ecosystems in the deep-sea from the Louisville Ridge in the western central South Pacific all the way across to the Tasman Sea” said Matthew Gianni, co-founder of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition who attended the meeting. “And all of this to provide fishing opportunities for a handful of New Zealand bottom trawl vessels to catch 1,500 tonnes of orange roughy, a long-lived species of fish highly vulnerable to overfishing, on the high seas. This runs completely counter to resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly since 2006 and global negotiations to conserve and protect marine biodiversity in the international waters of the world’s oceans.”

As a result of concerns expressed by the European Union, the regulation will be reviewed by the next meeting of SPRFMO’s Scientific Committee to determine whether in fact it does provide protection to deep-sea biodiversity. “We are urging SPRFMO member countries to scrutinize this regulation much more carefully than they have done this week and ensure that at the next meeting of SPRFMO it is amended to ensure the protection of biologically rich and diverse deep-sea ecosystems”.


For further information contact:

Matthew Gianni, DSCC: +31 646 168 899

Duncan Currie, DSCC: +31 622 582 374

Note to editors:

UN 1st World Ocean Assessment, 2016. Chapter 51. Biological Communities on Seamounts and Other Submarine Features Potentially Threatened by Disturbance (page 15).

Download the press release

image © Mike Markovina

24
Jan
2019

Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Liam Mannix

Under the Antarctic ice, in the pitch-black depths of the ocean, Australian scientists have discovered animals are evolving into strange and sometimes monstrous new shapes and forms.

Life, these scientists believe, is using the frigid Antarctic waters to experiment, and animals there are evolving at a much faster pace than anywhere else in the world.

Continue reading Down in the deep, beneath the Antarctic ice, a new strange world is rapidly forming

23
Jan
2019

Source: The Guardian

Species as old as the dinosaurs are swimming around in tropical waters at depths accessed by commercial fishermen, according to a world-first study conducted by Australian researchers.

The study, published in the journal Nature on Thursday, examined data on brittle sea stars pulled from 1,500 research voyages in the southern hemisphere from the equator to Antarctica.

Continue reading Brittle star sea ‘dinosaurs’ at risk from commercial fishing, researchers say

18
Jan
2019

Source: Phys.Org

Oxygen—it’s a basic necessity for animal life. But marine biologists recently discovered large schools of fishes living in the dark depths of the Gulf of California where there is virtually no oxygen. Using an underwater robot, the scientists observed these fishes thriving in low-oxygen conditions that would be deadly to most other fish. This discovery could help scientists understand how other marine animals might cope with ongoing changes in the chemistry of the ocean.

Continue reading Biologists discover deep-sea fish living where there is virtually no oxygen

17
Jan
2019

Source: Deep Sea Mining Observer
Author: Andrew Thaler

The Rio Grande Rise is an almost completely unstudied, geologically intriguing, ecologically mysterious, potential lost continent in the deep south Atlantic. And it also hosts dense cobalt-rich crusts.

Continue reading A lost continent rich in cobalt crusts could create a challenging precedent for mineral extraction in the high seas