High seas fisheries: what role for a new international instrument?

The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) has released a new discussion paper on fisheries to coincide with the second session of the PrepCom for a new agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The discussion paper, High seas fisheries: what role for a new international instrument?, is available here: http://www.iddri.org/Publications/High-seas-fisheries-what-role-for-a-new-international-instrument


This discussion paper is accompanied by a short brief, An overview of vulnerable marine ecosystem closures, available here: http://www.iddri.org/Publications/An-overview-of-vulnerable-marine-ecosystem-closures
We are interested in hearing your comments and feedback, which would help us to further develop these proposals.
Two previous publications may also be of interest to those following the negotiations:

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.

Read more

REMINDER: EUCC-France international conference Littoral 2016

logo_litThe 13th conference of the traditional biennial international event of the Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC) is  “Littoral 2016” : The changing littoral. Anticipation and adaptation to climate change. The conference will be held in Biarritz (France) from October 25 to October 29, 2016.

The presentation of the conference can be found here: English Presentation-Littoral 2016.

  • Deadline for the early-bird registration: 1st June 2016.

To find more information please consult the following website: littoral2016.univ-pau.fr

Cambridge Conservation Seminars: marine talks

identifier2The series is intended to provide a research and social focus for university lecturers, research staff and postgraduate students interested in conservation research. The primary aim is to inform university colleagues of what research is going on in different departments and to bring in high quality outside speakers. Equally, members of conservation organisations are welcome to attend. A key element is the opportunity after each talk to socialise with colleagues from different departments and organisations.

Cambridge Conservation Seminars, the last two of this academic year.
Large Seminar Room, David Attenborough Building, New Museums Site 

Hook, Line and Extinction: Can science save albatrosses from fisheries?
Richard Philips, British Antarctic Survey
Weds 2nd March 17-18
Impact Evaluation of Protected Areas: what do we know about impacts, moderators and mechanisms?
Paul Ferraro, Humanitas Visiting Professor in Sustainability Studies
Wednesday 9th March 17-18.30

Renegade Fishing Trawler Considered the World’s Worst Poacher Stalked for 10,000 Miles by Sea Shepherd Ships

The Thunder, shadowed by the Bob Barker and the Sam Simon in the Sea Shepherd, in February 2015.

As the Thunder, a trawler considered the world’s most notorious fish poacher, began sliding under the sea a couple of hundred miles south of Nigeria, three men scrambled aboard to gather evidence of its crimes. In bumpy footage from their helmet cameras, they can be seen grabbing everything they can over the next 37 minutes — the captain’s logbooks, a laptop computer, charts and a slippery 200-pound fish. The video shows the fishing hold about a quarter full with catch and the Thunder’s engine room almost submerged in murky water. “There is no way to stop it sinking,” the men radioed back to the Bob Barker, which was waiting nearby. Soon after they climbed off, the Thunder vanished below.

It was an unexpected end to an extraordinary chase. For 110 days and more than 10,000 nautical miles across two seas and three oceans, the Bob Barker and a companion ship, both operated by the environmental organization Sea Shepherd, had trailed the trawler, with the three captains close enough to watch one another’s cigarette breaks and on-deck workout routines. In an epic game of cat-and-mouse, the ships maneuvered through an obstacle course of giant ice floes, endured a cyclone-like storm, faced clashes between opposing crews and nearly collided in what became the longest pursuit of an illegal fishing vessel in history.

The Thunder in the moments before it was swallowed by the ocean. Sea Shepherd crew members found signs that it had been intentionally scuttled.

Route from Left to Right

Further Information: NY Times Story 

Five Arctic countries, with Inuit support, sign moratorium on commercial fishing for the Central Arctic Ocean pending sustainable management regime that incorporates Inuit traditional knowledge

This map shows the Arctic Ocean's so-called

This map shows the 2.8-million-square-kilometre area in the central Arctic Ocean that lies beyond the exclusive economic zone of the five Arctic coastal states: Canada, Russia, Norway, the U.S. (Alaska) and Denmark (Greenland.)

By Magdalena A K Muir, Climate Editor

The five Arctic coastal countries (Canada, Russia, United States, Denmark and Norway) have  signed a moratorium on commercial fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean.  Canada, the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway reached an interim agreement in February 2014 to work toward protecting Arctic waters beyond the 200-kilometre territorial limit of their respective shores, which is an area of ocean the size of the Mediterranean Sea.

The agreement calls for a moratorium on commercial fishing in international waters that lie beyond the five Arctic coastal states 200-mile (320-kilometre) exclusive economic zones pending further research on fish stocks and the development of a sustainable management regime.  Inuit traditional knowledge will be used in assessing the fish stocks and developing the management regime. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference was represented in discussions that led to this moratorium, providing Inuit perspectives to the five Arctic countries

The agreement will block ships from the five coastal states from dropping their nets in the Central Arctic Ocean until the completion of a full scientific assessment of the fish stocks and how they can be sustainably harvested. While the Arctic countries cannot stop boats from China, Japan, South Korea and the European Union from entering the region, it is hoped that this agreement can set an example, pending a binding international agreement.

Inuit peoples from Canada, Greenland and US have been uniformly supportive:

  • Okalik Eegeesiak, Inuit Circumpolar Conference Chair stated, ICC supports such a precautionary approach and we encourage other nations to follow this lead and sign the agreement.
  • The reduction in multi year ice and longer ice free time in high Arctic waters as a result of climate change have mad this region more accessible to foreign ships and potential environmental damage. We are not saying we oppose commercial fishing but rather we must take a precautionary approach, listen to the Inuit and do the appropriate studies, stated Jimmy Stotts, President, ICC (Alaska).
  •  Healthy and abundant fish stocks are essential to the cultural, nutritional and economic well-being and way of life of the Inuit villages and peoples who live along river drainages and coasts; and the Inuit welcome this announcement and have a great deal of traditional knowledge about these stocks to share, stated Duane Smith, President of ICC (Canada).

Officials from Canada, the U.S., Denmark, representing Greenland, Norway and Russia met in Nuuk, Greenland, Feb. 24-26 to discuss the fishing implications of an increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean. Delegates, pictured above, agreed that more scientific research needs to be conducted on the Arctic Ocean ecosystem but felt the need for a management structure to govern this high seas zone was not yet necessary. Scientists predict the Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer within 30 years. (PHOTO COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS)

Officials from Canada, the U.S., Denmark, representing Greenland, Norway and Russia met in Nuuk, Greenland, Feb. 24-26, 2015 to discuss the fishing implications of an increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean. Delegates, pictured above, agreed that more scientific research needs to be conducted on the Arctic Ocean ecosystem.

Further information

ICC Applauds Adoption of Central Arctic Ocean Fishing Moratorium  or pdf here Central Arctic Ocean Moratorium