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09 November 2016

Environmental groups strongly criticised the most recent International Maritime Organisation (IMO) response to the Paris Agreement objective of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, and in particular the lack of an agreement to establish a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the shipping sector. The outcome fails to allay fears that the IMO might be unable to tackle this issue in an effective and timely manner and reinforces the argument that the EU should push ahead with its own regional measure.

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03 November 2016

Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat sent their recommendations for the upcoming bi-annual Council decision for deep-sea species. The organisations ask fisheries ministers to adopt precautious fishing opportunities in line with scientific advice and the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy to complement the recently agreed deep-sea access regime in the protection of the deep sea.

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02 November 2016

Clean Shipping Coalition statement to the 70th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment protection Committee in London on 28th October 2016:

“Mr Chairman, when the Clean Shipping Coalition spoke on this issue earlier in the week we expressed our concern that some of the submissions made to this meeting under agenda item 7 [greenhouse gas emissions from ship] lacked ambition and an appropriate sense of urgency. In the outcome of the working group our worst fears have been realised. This can in no-way be seen as a proper response to the challenge laid down by Paris.

We note that a discussion of “levels of ambition” will be part of the lengthy process, but what is urgently needed is a clear indication of the scale of the emissions reductions that are necessary to keep warming below dangerous levels. This is needed to guide further work on measures and to send a crystal clear signal to industry that we are serious about decarbonisation of the sector and that they have to start including this reality in the decisions they are making now.

Why, when a majority of submissions, including from industry, supported setting some kind of target or objective is this missing from the outcome of the working group? It is totally unacceptable that an IMO response to Paris should lack this key element and indeed should then go on to suggest that it is acceptable to wait until 2023 before finally agreeing measures. Keeping warming to 1.5 degrees means net zero carbon emissions around 2030, and you are proposing to wait until 2023 to agree a measure based on no target or objective.

Mr Chairman, it is a source of deep regret that a process that had so much promise on Monday should have stumbled so seriously before the week was out. If this Committee is to send a clear signal to the wider world that it is serious about reducing shipping’s climate impact it needs to revisit this roadmap, and in particular it needs to agree a target by 2018”. 

28 October 2016

London, 28 October 2016 - Statement on behalf of environmental NGOs Transport & Environment and Seas At Risk- Abandoning a review of ship efficiency targets until 2018 at the earliest, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) today turned down an easy opportunity to act on climate change, environmental groups Transport & Environment (T&E) and Seas at Risk (SAR), members of the Clean Shipping Coalition, have said.

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27 October 2016

Today’s decision by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to cap the sulphur content of marine fuels sold worldwide at 0.5% by 2020 has been applauded by environmental groups Transport & Environment and Seas At Risk, which are members of the Clean Shipping Coalition. This will reduce SO2 emissions – which cause premature deaths from diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease – from shipping by 85% compared with today’s levels.

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25 October 2016

After two years of preparatory work and negotiations, the Commission presented its proposal for a revised Decision on criteria and methodologies for determining good environmental status of European seas. While the legislation is now clearer and promotes stronger regional cooperation, some important safeguards are still missing to ensure an adequate level of protection of our seas and ocean. The legislation not only lacks an independent process to decide when Good Environmental Status is achieved but also has some inconsistencies with other European environmental policies. Seas At Risk, together with other NGOs, urged the Commission to address these issues.

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11 October 2016

Those who will suffer most benefit least from global trade. The on-time implementation (in 2020) of a global low-sulphur fuel law for ships would prevent 200,000 premature deaths globally, a health study by a group of leading researchers from the United States and Finland reveals. Oil and gas industry association IPIECA and a group of shipping companies represented by BIMCO, are pushing hard to delay the measure for five years, The Guardian reveals. Later this month the International Marine Organisation (IMO) will decide whether to stick to the 2020 date, which was agreed by acclamation back in 2008 [1]. NGOs Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment (T&E), observers at the IMO, condemn any delay in the implementation of the sulphur cap for ship fuel, which would be unacceptable and unjustifiable.

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04 October 2016

Seas At Risk participated in the First Summit of the Blue Economy Business and Science Forum in Hamburg, 12th-13th September. The conference gave a good taste of the opportunities and challenges blue innovation poses to the future of our seas. While EU research seems more and more geared towards a ‘smart’ blue economy, the governance framework – and financial instruments - clearly still need to catch up.

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04 October 2016

Seas at Risk, as part of a new coalition of NGOs, the Clean Arctic Alliance, has developed a position statement asking states to #saynotoHFO. 

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30 September 2016

Brussels - Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have released their latest briefing on the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy in advance of the next Agrifish Council, with recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing quotas in 2017. The briefing outlines key considerations for the meeting of the Agrifish Council as it will for the first time agree on quotas after having adopted the Baltic Sea Multi-Annual Plan earlier this year. 

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26 September 2016

98% of offshore waters remain unprotected under Natura 2000, Europe’s key conservation network

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14 September 2016

Brussels - Over the summer, 100 NGOs from across the world came together to strategise how to tackle the ever growing plastic pollution problem. Today the vision they created is launched, and we ask the European union to rise to the challenge to break free from plastic.

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13 July 2016

Brussels – The newly created European Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC) held its first General Assembly meeting today. An initial Executive Committee of fourteen members was elected, a work programme was approved and three working groups on finfish, shellfish, and horizontal matters were established.

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01 July 2016

Brussels – It’s been a very tempestuous week of political fallout since the UK voted by 52% to leave the European Union in a public vote. Seas At Risk is determined to continue working with its members inside and outside the UK for a healthy marine environment.

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30 June 2016

Brussels - The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (of which Seas At Risk is a steering group member) has welcomed the agreement reached on 30 June by the European Parliament, Council of Ministers, and European Commission on key provisions for a new European Union (EU) regulation on deep-sea fishing.

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15 June 2016

Brussels: SAR held a members workshop on specific EU policy areas related to marine litter back-to-back with our Annual General Meeting.

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08 June 2016

8 June is the United Nations day for World Oceans. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘healthy oceans, healthy planet’, yet developments during 2016 have shown just how much more needs to be done to preserve our seas from the effects of human activity. 

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01 June 2016

Brussels - Today saw the release of the European Parliament’s draft opinion on the Circular Economy. Authored by Italian Socialist MEP Simona Bonafè, it contains proposals that will be vital to tackling the EU’s contribution to the global marine litter crisis.

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05 May 2016

It’s springtime, and with the improving weather comes the annual beach cleaning season! Seas At Risk member organisations across Europe have activated their own membership and organised their annual beach cleans.

This year was a particularly busy one, with a third of SAR members organising some activity based around getting citizens to play a role in cleaning up their marine environment. The events are not just aimed at improving the visual and ecological environment of the beaches that are targeted – many of the organisation also collect data on the waste they collect, to better inform policy makers when they try to tackle them at source. They also seek to increase the awareness of the general public to the damage we do to the marine environment through careless and excess use of resources, particularly single use plastics.

In Denmark, the Danish Society for Nature Conservation has set a new record for participants in their annual waste collection, with over 123,000 students participating in their coastal collections in April. They collected a record amount of waste, half of which was plastic. In France, the Surfrider Foundation has released the results of its five year study (French) of marine litter waste found in beach clean-ups there. An overwhelming 80% of waste identified contained plastic of some sort. Their Ocean Initiatives programme aims to help citizens get involved in the fight. Greece saw two SAR members active, with the Mediterranean SOS Network assembling over 200 supporters, including world swimming champion Spyros Giannioti, to clean up the beaches of the port town of Piraeus. Meanwhile, Archipelagos have been cleaning up waste and sunken boats that have accumulated as a result of the refugee crisis off Greece’s coast. The Netherlands are looking to the future, as the North Sea Foundation has set the date of their clean-up for early August, when they hope to collect over 1.2 million plastic waste items. They profiled a report from their new project leader, Marijke Boonstra, who has been conducting her first beach survey. She located about 270 items over a mere 100 metres. The Wadden Sea Association were emphasising the fun at their annual event, with their clean up in April designed to clear the beach areas for the birds nesting there. Norway’s Naturvernforbundet followed on from their 7 May event with tips and advice on how to limit one’s own waste impact. In Spain, Retorna brought their focus on deposit return schemes to the clean-up cause. After participating in the Valencian beach clean with Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others, they estimated that 75% of the waste located was plastic bottles and drinks cans. For the UK, two SAR members have been working away for cleaner beaches. The Marine Conservation Society have had their most successful ‘Great British Beach Clean’ yet, with over 6035 volunteering for it, the most ever in their 22 year history. Surfers Against Sewage delivered another record breaker, with 231 beaches across the UK cleaned in mid-April, with 8000 volunteers finding all sorts of debris, including a set of false teeth! They are also profiling their ‘Mini Beach Clean’ idea, to allow individuals to play a role in the fight against marine litter at any time in the year. Internationally, our partners in Project Aware took a slightly alternative option, marking this year’s Earth Day (22 April) with their Dive Against Debris programme, which involves divers cleaning up the actual sea floor and ocean itself from some of the worst items of marine litter.
01 May 2016

Brussels - Members of the European Parliament have sent their strongest message yet to the European Commission to address the issue of plastic microbeads in personal care products.

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