European Community Reaches Agreement to Protect Deep Sea Fish, Sponges and Corals

The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission  reached an agreement on July 30, 2016 to better protect deep-sea fish, sponges and corals while maintaining the viability of the European fishing industry. The agreement brings the EU rules on deep-sea fisheries, which date back to 2003, in line with the sustainability targets enshrined in the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy.
The text agreed contains a number of provisions that will help better protect the European deep seas. From now on, fishermen may only target deep-sea fish in areas where they have fished in the past (their so-called ‘fishing footprint’), thereby ensuring that pristine environments remain untouched. Trawls below 800m will be banned completely in EU waters, and areas with vulnerable marine environments (VMEs) will be closed to bottom fishing below 400m. To further protect VMEs, fishermen will have to report how many deep-sea sponges or corals they catch and move on to other fishing grounds in case a certain maximum amount has been reached.
These measures are complemented by a reinforced observers’ scheme that will improve the scientific understanding of the deep sea. Finally, specific measures, for example landings in designated ports, will be taken to improve enforcement and control. Fishing authorisations may ultimately be withdrawn in case of failure to comply with the new rules.
Deep-sea species are caught in deep waters in the Atlantic beyond the main fishing grounds on the continental shelves, in depths up to 1500 metres. This is a fragile environment which, once damaged, is unlikely to recover. Highly vulnerable to fishing, deep-sea fish stocks are quick to collapse and slow to recover because they reproduce at low rates.
Deep-sea fisheries in the North-East Atlantic are pursued in EU waters, including the outermost regions of Portugal and Spain, and in international waters governed by conservation measures adopted within the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), in which the EU participates along with the other countries fishing in the area.
Deep-sea fisheries account for about 1% of fish landed from the North-East Atlantic. The catches – and related jobs – have been declining for years, due to depleted stocks. The poor state of key deep-sea stocks and the lack of scientific data clearly demonstrated that a better management framework for deep-sea fisheries was necessary.

Scottish windfarms have no impact on tourism

new report by consultancy BiGGAR Economics, which analysed the impact of Scottish windfarms on tourism-related employment in an area, this week concluded there was no evidence to suggest windfarms had an adverse effect on tourism in an area.
The potential impact on tourism is a common consideration during the planning process and as such the study set out to see if the impact could be quantified.
It analysed the level of windfarm installations and the level of employment in tourism in Scotland between 2009 and 2013 at both a national and a local level.
The study found that at the national level the number of wind turbines in Scotland increased by 121% over the period, while tourism-related employment rose by 10.8%.
However, the report found the distribution of both windfarms and tourism jobs varied significantly across the country so it also looked at the impact on tourism employment in areas with a higher proportion of wind turbines.
It concluded there was no clear relationship between the growth in the onshore wind sector and growth in the tourism sector.
The report also looked at tourism employment in the immediate locality of 18 windfarms across Scotland that have been built since 2009. This found that the there was a significant variation between sites and there was no overall relationship between the development of wind energy and tourism employment in an area,” the company said. “In fact, in the majority of cases the level of tourism employment increased more in the immediate area surrounding a windfarm than in the wider local authority area.
The results of the report echo similar studies largely debunking the alleged impact of windfarms on health and house prices.

Further information:
Guardian News Article : Scottish windfarms have ‘no effect’ on tourism, report finds (August 3, 2016)
Biggar Economics, Wind Farms and Tourism Trends in Scotland : A Research Report  (July2016)

EUCC Contribution to Global Sustainable Development Report 2016

By Dr. Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change

Building upon the 2014 and 2015 reports, the Global Sustainable Development Report 2016 contributes to strengthening the science-policy interface for sustainable development in the context of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF); and to build knowledge on implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The preparation of the report involved an , multistakeholder process drawing upon scientific and technical expertise from within and outside the United Nations.  More than 245 scientists and experts based in 27 countries, including 13 developing countries, contributed to the report, and 62 policy briefs were submitted. 

Magdalena Muir was a contributor to Chapter 3: Perspectives on Scientists on Technology and the SDGs_on behalf of the of the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) and the Arctic Institute of North America, Universities of Calgary and Alaska Fairbank. Chapter 3 of the GSDR discusses perspectives of scientists on the role of technology to achieve the SDGs. The EUCC contributions focused on the role of technology in coastal and marine areas, for integrated water management including groundwaters,  renewable energy and energy efficiency and climate adaptation.
Further information

UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform

United Nations, 2016, Global Sustainable Development Report 2016, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, July 2016. (pdf version)
United Nations, 2016, Global Sustainable Development Report 2016, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, July 2016. (online version)

June 27th, 2016 – State of Play on Organisation of 3rd Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference


All roads lead to Dublin this fall!

The 3rd Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference taking place on the 27th September in Dublin, Ireland at the Croke Park centre, will focus on Priority 1 of the Atlantic Action Plan “Promote entrepreneurship and innovation” creating networking opportunities for stakeholders with an interest in developing projects in the Atlantic Area.

As we are heading towards September we would like to share with you the following practical information:


You can download the updated version of the Conference’s agenda here.


Do not forget to register for free and declare your participation in our Conference workshops.


Stands are free of charge and the available 40 spaces will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please read the guidelines and fill in the application.


You may find useful information about accommodation in Dublin here.

Diving enthusiasts can measure ocean temperatures in European coastal regions, and assist in ocean monitoring and adapting to change

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change 

A study, published in Science Reports on Friday, shows that measurements taken from the decompression computers often worn by divers can provide accurate data on ocean temperatures. Scientists from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Scotland took a range of decompression computers on dives alongside scientific instruments, and showed that the results tallied. Scientists have already collected more than 7,500 dive records from around the world via the Dive Into Science website. Kieran Hyder at Cefas, who led the citizen science project stated that to undertake a global science programme that could generate this information would be hugely expensive, but there are millions of sport and commercial dives every year. Making use of just a small fraction of those dives will greatly increase our knowledge of what is happening worldwide. The potential of scuba divers to contribute to ocean monitoring is huge. The new data is particularly valuable in highly changeable coastal environments, where many dives occur, as well as in areas that are rarely sampled by other methods. According to the Dive Into Science project, which is funded by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the extra data could prove crucial in the efforts to understand and predict the effects of our changing climate. 
The very interesting aspect of this approach to citizen science from an EUCC perspectives,  is the overall simplicity of approach,  and the possibilities for replication for European coastal water and the Mediterranean. Simplicity and replication are illustrated by the attached template, and the Dive into Science website illustrate this.

Further information

Diving enthusiasts could be used to measure ocean temperatures

SCUBA divers as oceanographic samplers: The potential of dive computers to augment aquatic temperature monitoring

Dive into Science website

Fourteen marine companies and organisations promoting LNG as a marine fuel for ships under SEA\LNG initiative

SEALNG Launch sml
Fourteen top companies and organisations came together in London last week to work together to promote LNG as a marine fuel. Carnival Corporatio, DNV GL, ENGIE, ENN, GE, GTT, Lloyd’s Register, Mitsubishi Corporation, NYK Line, Port of Rotterdam, Qatargas, Shell, TOTE Inc. and Wärtsilä have announced a new cross-industry initiative called SEA\LNG.
Explaining the coalition’s objective, Peter Keller, chairman of SEA\LNG and executive vice president of TOTE Inc., said: “We recognise the need to work closely with key players across the value chain, including shipping companies, classification societies, ports, major LNG suppliers, downstream companies, infrastructure providers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to ensure an understanding of the environmental and performance benefits of LNG as a marine transport fuel. SEA\LNG aims to address market barriers and help transform the use of LNG as a marine fuel into a global reality.”
The emissions reduction requirements which have come into force around the world are increasing demand for LNG as a shipping fuel. LNG offers significant environmental advantages over heavy fuel oil, the main fuel used in shipping today. LNG significantly reduces SOx, NOx and particulate emissions, and can also contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions. LNG is therefore able to offer a fuel solution compliant with both current and anticipated future regulations.
Further information

For illustration only (Image courtesy of Woodside)

How MPAs can help mitigate impacts of climate change via coastal blue carbon, “fish carbon”, and more

mpa-news-logo-squareSource: MPA News

When nations gathered in Paris last December to forge a pact on climate change, the agreement’s original text made no mention at all of oceans.  Not only did this oversight ignore 71% of Earth’s surface; it also overlooked the fact that marine ecosystems act as an enormous climate control system.

The seas regulate the concentration of atmospheric CO2 worldwide by absorbing and storing it in a variety of ways.  A healthy, resilient ocean – where there is abundant plant life to convert CO2 to oxygen, and abundant animal populations to store carbon in their shells, bodies, and wastes – may be key to helping mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Marine protected areas can play a role in fostering that healthy, resilient ocean.  To be sure, addressing the enormous threat of global climate change will require much, much more than just MPAs.  But MPAs do offer legitimate ways to store carbon and to offset some of the impacts of a changing climate.  And practitioners are starting to explore some of these opportunities.

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