Over 2.5 million hours of sea bottom trawling ploughed Europe’s ‘protected’ areas in 2020

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As the planetary quality conservation assemblage gathers successful Marseille for the IUCN World Conservation Congress, astatine which marine extortion targets volition beryllium discussed, Oceana releases caller information revealing however EU countries proceed to let destructive sportfishing successful Europe’s supposedly ‘protected’ areas and calls connected European leaders to prohibition the wide  and destructive signifier of bottommost trawling. Oceana’s investigation recovered that implicit 2.5 cardinal hours of bottommost sportfishing occurred successful 2020 wrong areas designated to support Europe’s astir invaluable and threatened marine taxon and habitats.

“As state leaders proudly pass their water extortion efforts astatine planetary events, they often neglect to notation the harmful sportfishing that is going connected wrong their marine ‘protected’ areas. We impulse them to genuinely support our marine situation by banning harmful activities, and successful peculiar destructive fishing, from each marine protected areas” said Oceana Advocacy successful Europe Senior Director Vera Coelho.

Oceana analyzed outer tracking-data of sportfishing boats, based connected Global Fishing Watch1, and focusing connected European Natura 2000 sites. The investigation recovered that 5 German sites are wrong the apical 10 astir bottom-trawled sites successful Europe, including the “Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park” with implicit 730,000 hours alone. The information reveals different intensely bottom-trawled sites including the French “Mers Celtiques - Talus du golfe de Gascogne” (117,574 hours), the Dutch “Noordzeekustzone” (117,683 hours) and ”Waddenzee” (110,451 hours), arsenic good arsenic the Danish “Skagens Gren og Skagerak” (49,092 hours).

Oceana’s investigation showed that astir 75% of the bottommost sportfishing enactment is carried retired by beam-trawling2, a peculiarly harmful sportfishing method utilized to drawback level food (such arsenic sole oregon plaice), which consists of dragging dense nets attached to a alloy beam that holds the nets unfastened connected the seafloor.

2021 is simply a captious twelvemonth for Nature and Ocean protection, arsenic planetary discussions are taking spot nether the United Nations to follow a caller planetary model to reverse biodiversity nonaccomplishment by mid-century. Negotiations are ongoing astir a people to support astatine slightest 30% of the satellite (land and sea) by 2030, and leaders are expected to besides sermon the contented astatine the IUCN Congress. An Oceana-led petition has already gathered astir 150,000 signatures urging the European Commission to enactment to prohibition bottommost trawling successful each EU MPAs successful its upcoming Action Plan connected the oceans expected successful aboriginal 2022.

Top 10 astir bottom-fished Natura 2000 sites successful Europe (2020)

MPA nameEU countryTotal 2020 bottom-fishing recorded successful the MPA (hours)
Nationalpark Niedersächsisches WattenmeerGermany732 775
Wattenmeer und angrenzende KüstengebieteGermany576 393
Sylter AußenriffGermany318 582
NoordzeekustzoneThe Netherlands117 683
Mers Celtiques - Talus du golfe de GascogneFrance117 574
WaddenzeeThe Netherlands110 451
Doggerbank (German part)Germany93 092
Skagens Gren og SkagerakDenmark49 092
SteingrundGermany41 832

Background

Natura 2000 is the largest web of protected areas successful the satellite and represents betwixt 70 to 80% of the marine protected areas (MPAs) successful EU Member States. Oceana analysed 1,928 European MPAs (all Natura 2000 sites) designated for situation protection, successful which bottom-fishing activities took spot successful 2020 (excluding sportfishing signals of little than 1 hour). In full 2,580,656 hours of bottom-fishing were recorded, wrong 343 Natura 2000 sites successful 20 EU subordinate states.

Fishing information is based connected Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from Global Fishing Watch (GFW), cross-referenced with the European Fleet Register. However, arsenic immoderate boats tin crook their AIS disconnected and vessels nether 15m are not required to transportation it successful Europe, findings are apt to beryllium an underestimate of sportfishing activity. The 2020 sportfishing enactment was besides affected by the COVID19 pandemic and truthful could beryllium beneath mean levels.

Global Fishing Watch is an planetary non-profit enactment dedicated to advancing water governance done accrued transparency of quality enactment astatine sea.

The remainder of the sportfishing enactment concerns the pursuing gears: bottommost brace trawls, bottommost trawls, nephrop trawls, azygous vessel bottommost otter trawls, duplicate bottommost otter trawls, duplicate trawls, mechanised dredges including suction dredges, and towed dredges.

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