On 11 & 12 December, the Fisheries Council will meet to agree fishing quotas for 2018. Ahead of this meeting, Seas At Risk, together with Pew, Oceana, ClientEarth and the Fisheries Secretariat, has called on the Ministers for Fisheries of the EU Member States to follow current scientific advice and take steps to end overfishing.

Today Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament called for a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. Heavy fuel oil is the cheapest marine fuel and accounts for three quarters of all fuel carried in the fuel tanks of ships sailing in the Arctic. Heavy fuel oil is also one of the world’s dirtiest fuels, a waste product of the refining process. It is almost impossible to clean up in the event of a spill, and produces high levels of black carbon when burnt. Black carbon emissions accelerate the melting of Artic ice and contribute to climate change. Given the severe risks that heavy fuel oil poses to polar environments, the international shipping community has already banned its use in the Antarctic. It is now time to extend that ban to the Arctic.

Seas At Risk joined 19 other NGOs in a call to fisheries ministers to ban fisheries for adult eel in all EU waters, including fresh water. Due to anthropogenic impacts there has been a dramatic reduction in the European eel in all the EU in the last 30 years, and less than 5% of the stock is left.  Conservation efforts to protect this species have failed up to now. Since 2008 scientists have been advising to close the fisheries, but this has so far been ignored by the Ministers. The state of the European eel got to such critical level that immediate action is necessary to achieve the recovery of the species. A ban on the fishing on adult eels would allow them to spawn as a first step to recovery.

The past month Seas At Risk has been presenting the results of our new study ‘Single-use plastics and the marine environment’ at high level events.

Time is ticking. Chances of achieving biologically diverse, clean and healthy seas by 2020 - as required  by the Marine Directive - are decreasing every day if urgent action is not taken. Measures proposed by Member States to achieve this noble commitment are too weak and  lacking in  ambition to  achieve it.  Meanwhile  our seas face increasing pressure.  Action is necessary, now!  

The European Parliament Fisheries Committee today voted on a proposal that will revise legislation on the protection of fisheries resources and marine ecosystems. The proposal merges more than 30 existing regulations and directives, all aimed at minimising the impacts of fishing on ecosystems. However, the proposal seriously weakens or deletes several existing measures.

EU governments and Members of the European Parliament have agreed that Europe should act on ship greenhouse gas emissions from 2023 if the International Maritime Organisation fails to deliver effective global measures.

Calls for urgent action to reduce ship greenhouse gas emissions have been met with heavy push-back by many states and big industry groups meeting at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). A group of Pacific Island and mainly European states clashed repeatedly with those saying that decisions on immediate measures should await the final iteration of the IMO’s comprehensive GHG strategy in 2023, rather than be part of the “initial” strategy in 2018. Green groups Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment, which are members of the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) [1], said the most obvious immediate measure is to regulate ship speed, with the feasibility and effectiveness of slow steaming having been proven during the recession.

New figures shine a light on the massive scale of the single use plastic problem in Europe, a problem that is contributing significantly to the ocean plastic pollution crisis yet could easily be addressed with existing policy solutions. 

Greenhouse gas emissions from three ship types - containerships, bulkers and tankers - could be reduced by a third, on average, by reducing their speed, according to a new independent study that will be presented to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) next week.  The cumulative savings [1] from reducing the speed of these ships alone could, by 2030, be as much as 12% of shipping’s total remaining carbon budget [2] if the world is to stay under the 1.5ºC global temperature rise, the CE Delft study for NGOs Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment, founding members of the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC), found.