Thanks for signing our petition to stop the most destructive fishing practices in the Northeast Atlantic.

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 27 February 2014

Thanks for signing our petition to stop the most destructive fishing practices in the Northeast Atlantic.

Thanks for signing our petition to stop the most destructive fishing practices in the Northeast Atlantic. Your voice will add weight to our calls to European ministers later this year. About the Deep Sea The deep-sea is an alien environment. It’s the part of the ocean that lies below a depth of 200metres - that’s the same height as HSBC Tower in London’s Canary Wharf, but under the sea! - and it goes much deeper than that. Because it is so deep, we’ve only explored a tiny fraction of what is one of the biggest habitats on earth, and only have a pretty limited understanding of life in the deep-sea. We do know that it is home to long-lived, highly specialised creatures that survive in relatively stable, constant conditions. They may look wierd - like these sea pens and jellyfish (right) - but they are well adapted to life here. We also know that even a small amount of damage can be devastating to five thousand year-old corals, and fish that don’t reach maturity until they are over 30. Destruction from damaging fishing practices to the deep sea environment may take millennia to recover. The problem Deep sea bottom trawling is widely recognised to be non-selective, and particularly harmful to deep-sea ecosystems; numerous reports and studies have highlighted the destructive impact of bottom trawling compared to other gears. The European Parliament recently voted to strengthen the protection of the Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems of the deep sea and the requirement for suitable impact assessments to be carried out. This is a huge step in the right direction and something that MCS feels should be strongly supported. However, more needs to be done! The solution A phase out of deep sea bottom trawling below 800m has already been agreed voluntarily with one of the biggest deep sea fleets in France - with agreements to look into more restrictions in the future. This shows that there is willingness in the fishing industry to protect the deep sea - now we need the politicians to get on board. We believe a phase out of bottom trawling below 600m will protect the deep sea for the future, combined with some initiatives already being proposed by the European Parliament on impact assessments for fishing activities and vulnerable marine ecosystems. We’ll be using your voice to help make progress this year!

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