Thursday, November 29, 2012

DSCC react to disappointing rise in quotas

Today the Council of Fisheries Ministers increased quotas for deep-sea species fished by EU fleets in the Northeast Atlantic. We spoke to Matthew Gianni of the DSCC for his reaction to this disappointing outcome. 

It has been announced that quotas for two deep-sea species – roundnose grenadier and black scabbardfish – targeted by French and Spanish trawlers fishing off Scotland and Ireland are to be increased. The deep-sea trawl fisheries in the area take upwards of 100 species as bycatch according to the French marine research institute IFREMER. Increasing the quotas for these two species translates to increased fishing pressure on many more deep-sea species.

Matthew Gianni commented; "Many of these are considered highly vulnerable to fishing pressure because of their long life spans and low reproductive capability though the status of these species is largely unknown. Increased quotas will also likely result in greater damage to deep-sea ecosystems such as cold-water coral and sponge ecosystem".

He continued, "On a more positive note, quotas were reduced on a number of other deep-sea species in line with a a more precautionary approach and zero quotas were extended for orange roughy and deep-sea sharks".

The UN General Assembly has called for no fishing for deep-sea species, whether targeted or taken as bycatch, unless the status of the species is known and the fishery can be managed to ensure the sustainability of the species and the protection of deep-sea ecosystems. The Deep Sea Conservation is calling on EU Member States to completely overhaul the management of deep-sea fisheries in line with the UN General Assembly resolutions.

The European Commission has proposed new legislation to regulate deep-sea fisheries including phasing out bottom trawling and bottom gillnet fishing for deep-sea species, which the DSCC supports. The European Council and Parliament will be debating the Commission beginning in early next year.

Photo courtesy of nicksarebi via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)