Deep sea protection frozen by Iceland, says Greenpeace Published: 23 November, 2006
NEGOTIATIONS at the UN to adopt a possible moratorium on high-seas bottom trawling were torpedoed yesterday, as a small number of influential fishing nations led by Iceland put the interests of their fishing fleets above other countries, the consensus of the marine scientific community and conservationists, Greenpeace has claimed.
“The final agreement has more loopholes in it than a fisherman’s sweater,” said Karen Sack, Greenpeace International Oceans Policy Advisor who has been monitoring the negotiations at the UN. “It does nothing to significantly change the way our oceans are managed.
“The international community should be outraged that Iceland could almost singlehandedly sink deep-sea protection and the food security of future generations, scuttling hopes for what could have been a much needed sea change in international oceans policy.
“They should be embarrassed as should all those states that did not stand up to them and fight for the future of the oceans,” continues Sack.
While countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Island States, the United States, Brazil, India, South Africa, Chile, Germany, and even the European Community and Canada supported strong action at the UN, Greenpeace says their drive to win consensus at all costs has resulted in a terribly weak outcome at a critical juncture.
“What the few countries opposed to a UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling must realise is that for the sake of the future of their own industries, this cannot continue. The oceans are not a bottomless resource to be exploited the way they currently are. Neither is the majority of the global community interested in watching the depletion of our oceans by large unregulated fishing fleets. Radical change is needed to protect ocean life. Those countries which made commitments to support the moratorium will now have to forge ahead and act on their concerns by developing concrete
measures to ensure clean and healthy oceans for the future,” said Sack.
Greenpeace says ccountries that committed to supporting a moratorium now have the opportunity to protect vulnerable habitats from destructive fishing by tightening market access to bottom-trawled fish and pressing for the establishment of a global network of marine reserves across the world’s oceans. The UN Fisheries Resolution is due to be adopted by the General Assembly on December 7th.
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