Is there still time to save the seabed?


The news just broke: MEPs meeting in plenary in Strasbourg today said no in a close vote. Ocean advocates were hoping that the elected representatives would go beyond the compromise settlement painstakingly negotiated in Parliament's Fisheries Committee in November. This failed.

Fishing for the 54 species defined as deep-sea by the European Commission remains subject to quotas in any case. The main fish targeted by the professional fleets in EU waters (blue ling, pink seabream in particular) will continue to be offered on the fish stalls of fish shops.  How will consumers react to this decision? After all, it's up to us to move this debate into our daily purchasing processes... A change in behaviour that needs to be implemented. Some major brands (Read articles du : Casino, Carrefour) have already taken a stand by eliminating the sale of certain fish.

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Petition: 24 hours to save the seabed

An new campaign has just been launched on the Avaaz Citizen Petitions website: STOP the industrial destruction of the deep oceans! In addition, the Penelope Bagieu against deep-sea fishing seems to have created a mobilization of opinion. As a result, the petition calling for a ban on deep-sea fishing has been a resounding success. 

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The amazing creatures that live in the deep oceans are systematically destroyed by huge fishing nets that catch and raze everything in their path. But the European Parliament can vote to protect one of the world's most precious habitats.

Fishing lobbies, especially French ones, are trying to sabotage the proposed ban on the most destructive fishing methods in the North-East Atlantic and MEPs need public support to block their way. What if there was an international union to ensure that the fragile deep sea ecosystem gets the help it needs? 

On the eve of the vote in the European Parliament on deep-sea trawling, a battle is raging between deep-sea fishing advocates and environmental NGOs that have been campaigning for years for the conservation of the deep oceans. Demain, Tuesday 10 December, MEPs can vote to ban the most destructive fishing methods in the North-East Atlantic.

The deep oceans form the largest habitat on the planet. They are teeming with all kinds of unique life forms, including ancient sponges and multi-millennial corals. But deep-sea trawlers destroy them by dragging giant, weighted nets, attached to steel cables and boards weighing more than two tonnes each. All this to catch a small number of fish of low commercial value. This is equivalent to cutting down a forest to catch a few squirrels... 

From the 1990s onwards, the depletion of fish stocks on the continental shelf, as a result of overfishing, pushed the professionals to go further and further, to fish ever deeper. With the dramatic consequences that we know: destruction of fragile ecosystems (corals, giant sponges, etc.), massive removals of highly vulnerable species because of their slow growth and low fecundity rate, lack of selectivity of catches, etc., the depletion of fish stocks on the continental shelf has led professionals to go further and further and to fish deeper and deeper. 

More than 300 scientists have united to say STOP to this indiscriminate and costly destruction, which is being subsidized by taxpayers' money. But fishing companies have gained political support to oppose these measures that are beneficial to all. Some members are saying that we could lose this battle if they are not publicly mandated to oppose the lobbies.

Can we give them what they need before this historic vote? Can we rise up to protect one of the most incredible ocean environments in the world?

A petition was launched on Avaaz's new Citizen Petition Site. 


Avaaz's Citizen Petitions empower civil society through online tools that help build the world we want. It is a new web platform that empowers people around the world to launch and win campaigns at local, national and international levels.

To fight against disinformation and to favour analyses that decipher the news, join the circle of UP' subscribers.

The Citizen Petitions Site is made available to everyone by Avaaz, the world's largest cyberactivist movement, which aims to turn citizen-driven policy into decision-making. Every week, millions of people around the world take action with Avaaz on pressing issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.

Photo ©2002 MBARI

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