Deep ocean species grow slowly and produce few offspring, making them very vulnerable to overfishing. But the European Union fleet in the North-East Atlantic fishes down to depths of 1,500 meters, using bottom-fishing gear that destroys thousand-year-old corals and sponge beds. Even more worrying, up to 80 percent of trawl catches are discarded and thrown away.
I have some wonderful news out of our European offices that I’d like to share with you. Last Wednesday, the European Parliament took a tremendous step forward in restoring the health of our oceans and our fisheries. They voted to significantly limit harmful subsidies that enable overfishing, leading to the collapse of any of Europe’s fisheries.
We're thrilled to report that last month, the Basque area of Jaizkibel has finally been nominated as a special area of conservation! Oceana made this recommendation back in 2010, and has been fighting for this nomination for years, making this victory all the sweeter to us.
This post comes to us from our Oceana offices in Europe. Click here to read the post in the original Spanish version.
August 7, 2013
In an event attended by José Ramón Bauzá, the President of the government of the Balearic Islands, and Gabriel Company, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Territory, the Cabrera National Park hosted the yearly tradition of returning rescued sea turtles to the sea. This event inspires us to take a moment to recognize the benefits of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) like the Cabrera National Park -- safe havens that are essential to the conservation of loggerhead sea turtles and many other species.
Every year, our research vessel, the Oceana Ranger, explores new areas of the ocean and collects scientific data – and incredible photos! -- to help protect vulnerable marine habitats.
This week, our colleagues in Europe presented their findings to an environmental rule-making body in the Northeast Atlantic, and we’re hopeful that it will lead to exciting new ocean protection measures.
Europe’s Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) offers guidelines about threatened species and habitat types that should be protected. However, these principles rely on old and incomplete data, so countries have had trouble using them effectively.
Although Norway, the UK, and Germany have already taken steps to explore and protect their seafloor communities, Spain and Portugal have had much less information about their oceans and so have been less active in preserving it.
But thanks to our expedition findings, that might change. Oceana presented OSPAR with findings about coral gardens, deep sea sponges and seapen communities from our expeditions in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. In total, our scientists presented 28 previously unknown areas that have these types of habitats.
These habitats are home to some of the most diverse and unique communities in the oceans. Creating marine protected areas to preserve them can go a long way in keeping the oceans and everything that lives in them healthy.
Here’s hoping that today’s presentation will pave the way for both continued scientific study and additional protections.