Why?

2013 TIME FOR A DEEP SEA LEGACY

Bottom impact fishing — where the gear makes contact with the seabed — is like bulldozing a shopping centre to find one burger, or clear-cutting a forest to find one tree. It is widely accepted to be the single most destructive form of fishing in use today, and the subject of international efforts to phase it out.

The EU has the biggest global deep-sea fishing fleet and is responsible for 60 percent of all bottom impact fishing, in its own and distant waters. It is also a trendsetter — how the EU manages its fleets, waters and ecosystems often influences the rest of the world.

With this in mind, the deep sea now stands at a crossroads.

EU TO THE RESCUE

Since 2006 the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) has called on countries to either clean up deep-sea fishing and protect vulnerable marine ecosystems or stop fishing on the high seas. Until now countries have largely left it up to regional fisheries management bodies to carry out this agreement — with poor results.

Finally a group of countries across an entire ocean region — the European Union (EU) — has begun to grapple with the UN demands by protecting the vulnerable marine ecosystems of their own deep waters. As the biggest bottom impact trawling fleet domestically and globally, this could be a game-changing moment for the deep ocean.

NOT EASY…

Managing the activities of a huge fleet working at great depth and with little real understanding of the habitats beneath is no mean feat, but it is a feat that could turn into a legacy.

If the EU can adopt the strong set of rules that has been proposed for deep-sea fishing, designed to protect vulnerable ecosystems and precious habitats, it will change the game globally and could bring about the biggest revolution in attitudes to fishing for decades.

Deep-sea fishing is the last gold rush — the last unfettered plundering of our environment without thought for the loss or its consequences. If the EU can put preservation first — preserving the most fragile systems and the services they provide — then that will mark a major shift in our attitude to harvesting the ocean.

…BUT WORTH IT!

Achieving these strong rules will not be easy but the potential benefit goes far beyond mere rules in European waters; the benefit is a sea-change in our attitude to protecting and preserving the role of the deep sea in our world.

 

Threat

trawling

We know more about the dark side of the moon than we do about the deep ocean of planet Earth. But with every scientific expedition new species are discovered, new findings brought to light and we are building an understanding about the vital role which the deep ocean plays in regulating all life on Earth.

It is intrinsic to the production of oxygen, the natural storage of carbon, the creation of nutrients and weather cycles. It may even be where all life started.

However, as technology advances to enable us to learn more, so it also enables us to fish deeper and beyond depleted, over-fished coastal waters in search of new supplies for affluent markets.

We are now seeing fishing at depths only recently thought impossible.

More powerful engines, bigger nets, more precise mapping, and advanced navigational and fish-finding electronics have made it possible for vessels to drag fishing gear across the ocean bottom as far as two kilometres below the surface to the canyons and hideaways where roundnose grenadier and other vulnerable species live.

 

Act Now

 

The EU has the biggest global deep-sea fishing fleet and is responsible for 60 percent of all bottom impact fishing, in its own and distant waters. It is also a trendsetter — how the EU manages its fleets, waters and ecosystems often influences the rest of the world.

With this in mind, the deep sea now stands at a crossroads.

2013 is a critical year for the protection of species like the roundnose grenadier from deep-sea fishing.

This year, the European Union will try to adopt new rules for how its fleet, the largest deep-sea fishing fleet in the world, manages fishing inside EU waters. If it is successful it will have a huge impact on the fate of the world’s deep-sea species and habitats.

Populate the roundnose gallery to show European politicians that you want to see a strong set of rules to protect deep sea life.

We’ll make sure they know you care.

Thank you.

Give me a makeover!

 

Facts

The Roundnose Grenadier has developed some amazing adaptations to survive in the deep sea — one of the most hostile environments found on Earth.

Deep Sea Super Powers

1) The Roundnose Grenadier is one hardy animal; they can thrive in temperatures of 1.6 °C and below! For humans hypothermia sets in if our body temperature drops below 35°C.

2) The Roundnose Grenadier has developed large eyes to capture what little light exists in the deep sea. It has also developed a novel solution to the problem of lighting up the darkness - it can produce and focus its own searchlight when hunting!! This red light lures food right to its waiting mouth, which helps it conserve energy by not having to chase down dinner.

3) To avoid being detected by predators, the Roundnose Grenadier can go into stealth mode. It uses the light organ on its belly to mask its silhouette from below and hide in plain sight from predators looking upward for food.

4) Imagine having a “Spidey” sense, which alerts you to fast approaching danger or food-allowing you a quick escape or a sudden ambush on your prey? Running down the length of the Roundnose Grenadier’s body is the ‘lateral line’ sense organ, which detects movements and vibration in the surrounding water.

5) Living at depths of between 700 — 10,000m is no easy feat. The Roundnose Grenadier has evolved to withstand up to 1000 times the pressure we feel at sea level.

6) Roundnose Grenadier can live for up to 80 years, which is a miracle when biological research has shown that it is generally bigger animals that live longer. Roundnose Grenadier grow to one and a half meters in size but share the same life span as humans and outlive both elephants (78 years) and whale wharks (70 years).

Any animal with that many super powers is worth saving! Don’t you agree?