Sure we’ll protect deep-sea fishes…uuhhh we changed our mind

The meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, which concluded today, left conservation organizations disappointed with the failure of NAFO countries to live up to their international commitments to protect the high seas. In 2006, they all agreed through a United Nations General Assembly resolution to conduct environmental impact assessments of deep-sea fishing and to protect deep-sea species and biodiversity. The UN resolution was a response to a call by conservation organizations and others for a moratorium on bottom trawling on the high seas.

“NAFO countries agreed they would assess the impacts of high seas bottom fishing by December 31st, 2008 or else stop fishing, according to the 2006 UN resolution. In 2008, NAFO countries themselves agreed to submit assessments for the 2009 fishery. They didn’t, and they still haven’t done so as far as we can tell. Without assessments, they won’t know what the impact of fishing will be nor can they manage bottom fisheries to ensure minimal impact on sensitive deep-sea ecosystems,” said Susanna Fuller of the Ecology Action Centre, an observer at the meeting.

via PR-USA.net – Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Comes up Short on Protecting the Deep Sea.

One Reply to “Hypocrites”

  1. Disappointing, but predictable. However, a simple solution could have been NAFO taking the position that “studies don’t exist unless they’re produced.” Of course, that would be a non-starter politically though, since it would make the whole RFMO therefore be in non-compliance with the UN mandate.

    That being said, most assessment attempts on bycatch species (e.g., sailfish in western Atlantic pelagic longline fisheries) have been inconclusive at best on actual stock numbers, and instead have been used as exercises to evaluate trends. This is due to poor data collection, with most member countries still not having adequate fisheries observer coverage. Get that good coverage, over broad temporal/spatial scales, and the assessments will likely come out in time regardless of the politics.

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