28 September, 2009

CHARLESTON, South Carolina. (ENS)

Protection for over 23,000 square miles of complex deepwater corals located off the coasts of the Carolinas, Georgia, and eastern Florida was advanced last week by a unanimous vote of the members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, SAFMC, a federal government advisory body. Upon implementation by the Secretary of Commerce, the measure will protect specific areas of sensitive habitat, designated as Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, inhabited by coral species living in waters ranging from 1,200 feet to 2,300 feet deep.

Continue reading South Atlantic Deepwater Corals Protected From Fishing Gear

10 March, 2009

10 March 2009 Commercial fishing in the north-east Atlantic could be harming deep-sea fish populations a kilometre below the deepest reach of fishing trawlers, according to a 25-year study published on Wednesday. Scientists have long known that commercial fishing affects deep-water fish numbers, but its effects appear to be felt twice as deep as previously thought.

Continue reading Deep-sea fish stocks threatened

4 November, 2005

58 Australian marine scientists have sent a letter to the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard urging him to “take advantage of an historic opportunity to secure significant protection for the world’s deep-ocean ecosystems on the high seas” by promoting the negotiation of a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling at this year’s United Nations General Assembly. (1) A week earlier, over 100 international marine scientists, conservationists and biodiversity experts attending the International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1) sent a letter to Australian Ministers for the Environment and Fisheries, Senators Ian Campbell and Ian MacDonald, urging them to stop deep sea destruction by supporting a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. (2) The letter was also sent to Heads of State attending the Pacific Islands Forum and delegates to the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which met last week in Hobart.

Continue reading Scientists call on Australia to support the moratorium

25 October, 2005

In spite of the fact that Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has called on countries to “stop the rape of our oceans” (1) and Fisheries Minister Geoff Reagan agrees that no habitat means no fish, Canada stands poised to vote against a moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters at the United Nations. Last week, on Wednesday, 19 October 2005, a medley of deep sea creatures, entangled in three tonnes of bottom trawl fishing gear, were displayed by Deep Sea Conservation Coalition members on Canada’s Parliament Hill to impress on Parliament members the scale of the damage caused to sea floor habitats by such gear.

Continue reading Will Canada hold good on its promise to protect the oceans?

20 October, 2005

There is growing concern amongst scientists about the need to take urgent action to protect deep sea biodiversity – fish stocks as well as habitat. The International Council on the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has prepared a report calling for “a complete overhaul of deep-sea fisheries.” (1) According to a 17 October ICES press release about the report’s launch (2), “scientists will recommend that all existing deep-sea fisheries should be cutback to low levels until they can demonstrate that they are sustainable. They will advise zero catch of depleted deep-sea sharks, and they will recommend that no new fisheries for deep-sea fish should be allowed until it can be demonstrated that they are capable of being sustainable.”

Continue reading Scientists Speak Out: Action Urgently Needed in the Deep Seas

24 August, 2005

The latest discovery of underwater life in abundance – coral forests at 1000 metres deep – was released today in Vienna at a conference (1) of marine biologists, underlining recent calls to take a time-out on trawl fishing of the ocean bottom until scientists can accurately assess the real richness of deep sea life and its resources. Scientists outlined new research from the US Government National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration 2002 and 2004 Gulf of Alaska Seamount Expeditions. Marine ecologists collected and described a new species of deep sea fan (2), or gorgonian, called a “bamboo coral” from a dozen mountains in the sea between Santa Barbara, California and Kodiak, Alaska, USA, suggesting the animal occurs on peaks throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Continue reading Oceans unveil how little is known

2 May, 2005

A report released by Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), suggests that deep sea life holds major promise for the treatment of human illnesses (1). But scientists are increasingly concerned that bottom trawling may be destroying medically beneficial species before they are even discovered.

Continue reading Potential cancer cures from the deep sea threatened by high seas bottom trawling

20 April, 2005

On 18 and 19 April, Dr. Sylvia Earle met with Spanish scientists and government officials to advocate that Spain, a major fishing nation, has an opportunity to act constructively for the conservation of deep sea marine biodiversity by supporting a UN General Assembly moratorium on high seas bottom trawling.

Continue reading Pioneering undersea explorer Sylvia Earle meets with Spanish government officials and addresses Spanish scientists