bycatch

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

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27
Mar
2018

Source: Mongabay 
Author: Rebecca Kessler

Marine biologists have been raising concerns about bottom trawling for years. The fishing technique involves a boat dragging a weighted net along the seafloor, scooping up whatever marine life swims or sits in its way. In their pursuit of commercially valuable seafood, not only do bottom trawlers unintentionally kill or injure non-targeted creatures as bycatch, they can disrupt the marine habitat itself and kick up sediment plumes that smother nearby organisms.

Continue reading ‘Annihilation trawling’: Q&A with marine biologist Amanda Vincent

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25
Jan
2017

Source: Frontiers in Marine Science

Authors: Les Watling and Peter J. Auster

The ecological sustainability of fishing in the deep sea, in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), rose to the attention of the member States of the United Nations and elicited action in 2004 and then more strongly in 2006 (Gianni et al., 2011). Mounting evidence of the effects of fishing in the deep sea, such as the destruction of deep sea coral communities at sites around the globe, and the slow growth, time to maturity and tremendous age reached by some species of deep sea fish, caused many to consider the sustainability of common fishing practices. 

Continue reading Seamounts on the High Seas Should Be Managed as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems

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13
Dec
2016

The European Parliament today concluded a long process of negotiation by voting to adopt a new regulation on deep-sea fishing, including a ban on bottom trawling below 800 meters in EU waters, and an obligation to close deep-sea areas to bottom fishing to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). The Parliament vote to approve the regulation paves the way for its entry into force early in the new year. The priority now is to ensure vigorous and effective implementation.

Continue reading Conservationists urge full implementation of new EU regulation on deep-sea fishing formally adopted today

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15
Nov
2016

Seas at Risk, The DSCC and Bloom are disappointed by the decisions on fishing limits for deep-sea fish stocks taken by the Fisheries’ Council of Ministers yesterday evening. Ministers did reduce the total allowable catch for most of the deep-sea stocks but this decision will not stop overfishing. Most of the quotas are set well above the levels recommended by the scientific community to achieve sustainable fishing and will consequently allow continued overfishing of vulnerable deep-sea species.

Continue reading Fisheries Council’s Reduction In Deep-sea Fishing Quotas Will Not Avoid Overfishing

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5
Aug
2016

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) wrapped up a two-day workshop today in New York to review the implementation of a set of landmark resolutions adopted by the General Assembly over the past ten year calling for action by States to prevent damage to deep-sea ecosystems from destructive fishing practices.        

Continue reading Review of United Nations Landmark Resolutions To Protect the Deep Sea Reveals That There Is Still Work To Do

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