New deep sea discoveries are being made all the time. Several new species of black corals have been discovered this year alone, including a new shrub-like black coral that shines like a pink and white Christmas tree. Yet their delicate structures can be removed with one pass of a bottom dragging net and may take decades to recover.
“For too long, the world acted as if the oceans were somehow a realm apart – as areas owned by noone, free for all, with little need for care or management… This common heritage of all humankind continues to face profound pressures.
Three different types of corals live in the deep sea – soft, stony or black. Soft corals (or octocorals) often look like colorful undersea gardens of pink, red, and white. They grow in many different forms, including branching sea fans. From a distance they look like bushes or trees, sometimes reaching 2 meters tall.
Last year, UNEP designated the “Ocean – Dead or Alive” as the central theme of World Environment Day (5 June) and the publication of the report “Cold Water Corals – Out of Sight but no Longer Out of Mind”, stressed the need to protect cold water corals.
Seeking to protect deep-sea coral beds and other sensitive fish habitat, a US federal fishing council banned bottom trawling this month over more than 370,000 square miles off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the largest such action taken anywhere in the world.
When a nuclear powered submarine owned by a leading world power crashes into a huge undersea mountain that didn’t appear on any maps, you have to wonder how much we really know about the deep, dark depths of our planet’s oceans.
Germany, Sweden, New Zealand and Brazil expressed dismay that action on marine issues appeared to take a step backwards at CBD SBSTTA 10. Deep Sea Conservation Coalition member Greenpeace, attending the meeting, sought to strengthen a number of draft goals and targets designed to help governments reduce and halt the loss of marine and coastal biodiversity by 2010.
– Paris. The International Conference on Biodiversity, Science and Governance in Paris will close today with a strong call on the international community to meet its goal of halting the decline in global biodiversity by 2010. Critical among the areas of the planet high in biodiversity and under threat are the often-neglected deep oceans.
The Pacific Islands and island people are living on vulnerable environmental frontlines. “As indigenous people, we depend on biodiversity for our traditional ways of life, and are entitled to an equitable share of benefits,” said Maureen Penjueli, speaking for indigenous peoples at the SIDS Panel on Environmental Vulnerability.
Continue reading Coalition calls on SIDS and international community to address environmental vulnerabilities of Pacific Island countries and halt the destruction of high seas biodiversity by deep sea bottom trawlers
In a report focusing on the impacts of fishing in the north-east Atlantic, the prestigious UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) (1) concludes that drastic and urgent action is needed to save the marine environment from further destruction by fishing, including the ruinous effects of deep sea bottom trawlers which plough furrows up to 6m wide and 0.15m deep for many kilometers across the seabed. In addition to recommending that 30% of UK waters are closed to commercial fishing and a network of marine reserves established in UK and international waters, the Commission makes a number of specific recommendations on deep sea bottom trawling (2).