The Guardian, Jan 18: NGOs demand action not promises as EU accused of ‘failing to protect seas’
Environmental groups propose urgent plan to stop overfishing and safeguard marine life, as existing laws go unenforced
A coalition of NGOs is calling for an urgent ban on destructive bottom trawling in EU marine protected areas, after the failure of member states to defend seas.
The ban is part of a 10-point action plan to “raise the bar” to achieve biodiversity targets, which they say will not be met by current promises, such as last year’s high-profile pledge by world leaders at the UN summit on biodiversity in New York to reverse nature loss by 2030.
A raft of EU laws to safeguard marine life – including a duty on EU member states to achieve “good environmental status” in seas by 2020, to achieve healthy ecosystems and to introduce sustainable fisheries management – have not been enforced, says the group, which includes Oceana in Europe, Greenpeace and ClientEarth.
Rebecca Hubbard, programme director of Our Fish, which aims to end overfishing, said: “The EU has failed to achieve good environmental status for EU seas and the EU biodiversity strategy must be implemented if we are to have a chance of saving it – this implementation needs to include the 10 action points we have in our report.”
She said the EU has also failed to end overfishing, and to protect marine habitats from bottom trawling. “What we really need to do is go from strategies and goals and action and outcomes. National pledges, goals and agreements are important for setting a direction but if we are going to save the planet we need action.”