EU’s fiskerikommission stilles for EF domstolen
Fiskerne og befolkning på Azorerne (som hører under Portugal), har med støtte fra europæiske NGO’er, nu stævnet EU kommissionen for EF domstolen, med krav om, at EU’s fiskeripolitik respekterer fiskerne på Azorernes, ret til deres fiskeri.
EU kommissionen åbnede sidste år for, at store EU trawlere kan fiske ved Azorerne i det meget dybe vand og den udvikling er man meget bekymret for på Azorerne. Man vil have denne tilladelse trukket tilbage og det skal EF domstolen hjælpe til med.
Seas at Risk som Levende Hav er medlem af og Verdensnaturfonden WWF, støtter Azorernes krav om, at fiskeriet rundt øerne skal være skånsomt mod havbunden og dets dybhavsrev og mod fiskebestandene.
”EU skulle lære af den skånsomme og bæredygtige fiskeriforvaltningen som styrer fiskeriet fra Azorerne, i stedet for som i dette tilfælde, at tillade en praksis som har dokumenteret dets ødelæggelser af bestande og habitater” siger Monica Verbeek fra Seas at Risk, i dag.
Pressemeddelelsen fra Seas at Risk
Islands in Court Fight to Save Fish Stocks and Environment from EU Incompetence
Luxembourg – The Autonomous Region of the Azores (part of Portugal), supported by Seas at Risk and WWF, will today try to persuade the European Court to suspend an EU Fisheries Council decision that threatens one of Europe’s few sustainably managed fishing grounds. Without previously ensuring limits on fishing activity, and in contravention of the precautionary principle and ecosystem approach, the Fisheries Council agreed last November to open Azorean waters between 100 and 200 nautical miles to the wider EU fisheries fleet. A suspension is essential to protect stocks and the environment during the two years it will take the Court to reach a verdict on the legality of the Council regulation.
The waters around the Azores are deep and very special. Averaging 3000m in depth they contain vast undersea mountain ranges, deep water coral reefs and volcanic hydrothermal vents; these are rare in European waters, support a diverse range of marine life, and are especially vulnerable to intensive fishing practises like trawling. The deep water commercial fish species found here are long-lived and slow to reproduce; effectively a non-renewable resource, even modest fishing pressure can pose a serious threat.
Using small vessels and traditional fishing methods, including a ban on trawling in the deep water fisheries, the people of the Azores have fished this area for generations without
depleting stocks or damaging the environment. “EU fisheries managers should be learning from how it is done in the Azores, and not be trying to export practices that have proved devastating for stocks and the environment in other parts of Europe” said Monica Verbeek, Fisheries Policy Officer at Seas at Risk.
A positive decision by the Court is vital; forty Spanish vessels, licensed by the Spanish government, are already fishing in the area. Even a few months of unlimited access by the EU’s substantial deep water fleet could cause irreversible damage to stocks, the environment and the livelihoods of Azorean fishers. “The Fisheries Council has been grossly negligent in opening this pristine environment to the deep water trawler fleet without first ensuring that proper controls are in place” said Stephan Lutter of WWF’s North-East Atlantic Programme “We can only hope that the Court sees the urgency of the need to protect the area while it deliberates on the legality of the Council regulation.”
Seas At Risk and WWF will today intervene in support of the Azores and ask the Court to suspend access of the EU fleet to Azorean waters until such time as proper measures are in place to protect vulnerable stocks and the environment. Monica Verbeek (contact details below) will be present at the Hearing.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Monica Verbeek, Seas At Risk, Policy Officer (Fisheries, species and habitats)
+351 96 561 7846
¨ Seas At Risk is an independent non-governmental European federation of national and international environmental organisations concerned with the protection and restoration of the marine environment. More information on Seas At Risk, can be found on their web site: www.seas-at-risk.org.
¨ The Azores are located in the south west of the North-East Atlantic where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rises from the deep-sea basin. The archipelago is of volcanic origin as are the submerged seamounts in the surrounding waters. In 2001, WWF highlighted the designation of the first deep-sea marine protected areas by the Azores government as Gift to the Earth. More information is available at: www.wwfneap.org