16 Apr, 2014 @ 16:00
1 min read

NGOs demand end to Spanish destruction of deep-sea ecosystems

deep sea fishing

A SERIES of green groups have united to demand that Spain stops the destruction of vulnerable ocean ecosystems by deep-sea fishing.

Greenpeace, WWF, The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and a series of other environmental groups have launched a petition to coincide with current EU negotiations in Brussels.

Spain is the main fishing nation in the north east Atlantic Ocean, accounting for half of the European catch of deep-sea species.

It comes as pressure grows on Brussels to reform the current regulations for deep-sea fishing, which have failed to protect the fragile ecosystems over the last 10 years.

Deep-sea bottom trawling drags fishing gear along the ocean floor, destroying corals and sponges.

The environments in which the fishing is carried out – between 200 and 1500m below sea level – are characterised by their extreme conditions.

Cold temperatures, a lack of nutrients and near total darkness mean the environments are inhabited by unique organisms that grow slowly and produce few offspring, and are therefore extremely vulnerable to human impact.

To make matters worse it is claimed that up to 80% of the caught fish – so called ‘bycatch’ – is thrown back into the sea by the fishing fleets.

The petition is demanding the a ban on bottom trawling nets, the implementation of catch limits, and for deep-sea fishing to be scientifically monitored.

Imogen Calderwood

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  1. This is precisely why Gibraltar and other ports around the Spanish coast have placed concrete blocks into the sea along their coastline to prevent this type of destruction by fishermen.

  2. By all means introduce some tougher laws if it’ll help which I doubt. It’s so well known that Spanish fishermen will always find a way round them. They’ve screwed the Med (around Spain at least) & it’s why Spain now imports so much from other countries e.g. Prawns from Nicaragua. Always makes me laugh when Brits come down here on holiday & “enjoy” lovely Spanish Prawn Cocktails.

  3. David: You wouldn’t exactly WANT a “lovely Spanish prawn cocktail” from the Med. would you ?
    Some of that lovely lolly the E.U. scoops up, should be spent on patrol boats (preferably armed) with the power to seize boats and take away licences. Simply passing laws at great expense, will just give these “fishermen” something to laugh at. Direct action is all they will understand.

  4. Yes I’d love to try one but as I suggested, it’s most unlikely that I’d find one! First of all they’ve mostly been fished out & most of the fishermen that were catching them, have either retired or bought British boats (with licence) & are now busy elsewhere making lots of money that apparently the British fishermen couldn’t make. I’ve always thought that strict control (meaning not only the loss of licence but also the sinking of the boat for breakers of the laws)should apply. I think the resources are there……maybe the will isn’t.

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