Friday, 16 September 2011

Taking the Message to the United Nations

Today concluded a two-day UN General Assembly Workshop on high seas bottom fishing to address impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems and the long-term sustainability of deep sea fish stocks.  The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition was active throughout the workshop. We held a side event and a lunchtime panel debate featuring leading scientists, presented twice during plenary, and hosted an evening reception for further discussion that recreated the underwater world for “total immersion” for the delegates.   

The workshop clarified the threats of bottom fishing to deep-sea ecosystems and demonstrated unequivocably that the international community is failing to protect them. A report of the meeting will now be developed and it is likely that the outcomes of the Review will be reflected in the Sustainable Fisheries General Assembly Resolution 2011. The first part of the negotiations close this afternoon and re-open in November.

The DSCC side event provided a comprehensive overview of the implementation failures of regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) and deep-sea fishing countries.  Lisa Speer, Director of the International Oceans Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, chaired a discussion with leading scientists -   Peter Auster of the University of Connecticut, Elliott Norse of the Marine Conservation Institute, Alex Rogers of Oxford University, Les Watling of the University of Hawaii, and Phil Weaver of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Matthew Gianni, Political and Policy Advisor to the DSCC, and Karen Sack, Deputy Director of the Pew Environment Group, made presentations during plenary on the urgent need for implementation of UN resolutions to protect the deep sea. 

Our Worth Saving mascot, Roundnose Grenadier, got all dolled up to meet the UN delegations and have a glass of wine at our evening reception.

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