Commission pushes for strong measures to protect sensitive marine habitats in the North East Atlantic
At the initiative of the EU, the Heads of Delegation of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) meet in London this week to consider concrete NEAFC measures to implement the UN General Assembly resolution on vulnerable marine ecosystems.
This resolution, welcomed by the European Commission on its adoption in 2006, seeks inter alia to eradicate destructive fishing practices and thereby protect sensitive marine habitats. In that context, the Heads of Delegation will notably be formulating proposals to expand the areas currently prohibited to bottom gear fishing activities in the NEAFC Regulatory Area. The proposals will be based on the scientific advice available from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and OSPAR, the mechanism governing cooperation to protect the marine environment in the North East Atlantic.
The EU will be seeking a considerable expansion of the current closed areas in the Mid Atlantic Ridge to take account of available scientific information; the expansion of the current closed areas at Hatton Bank; and the revision of current NEAFC measures governing procedures to be followed in cases of detection of vulnerable marine ecosystems during fishing operations.
NEAFC works closely with its sister fisheries organisation in the North Atlantic Ocean (NAFO) and its work on vulnerable marine ecosystems will complement that undertaken in the North West Atlantic.
NEAFC is an international organisation established under the Convention on Future Multilateral Co-operation in the North East Atlantic Fisheries. The Contracting Parties to NEAFC are: the EU, Denmark (on behalf of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation.