Green groups call for urgent action protecting Europe’s seas

We have joined with some of Europe’s leading environmental groups today to voice a shared vision of how Europe’s seas and marine life must be protected.

BirdLife, ClientEarth, Greenpeace, Oceana, Seas at Risk and WWF’s Blue Manifesto for Europe’s seas was presented to Commissioner Vella, the new commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, at a meeting in Brussels.

The manifesto sets out the urgent steps the Commission must take to protect our seas and oceans. These waters are crucial for Europe’s prosperity. They provide not only food, but also jobs, energy and resources to millions of people across Europe.

Over-exploitation is placing our marine environments in peril. Without urgent action we risk causing irreversible damage to our seas, the life they contain and the benefits to society that they provide.

The Blue Manifesto sets out five goals that we and our partners have identified as priorities for the new Commission, both this year and for the rest of its mandate. These cover a range of issues, from doing more to meet existing legal obligations to ensure environmentally healthy seas , to tackling marine litter and sustainably managing fisheries.

Vella has opportunity and public backing like never before to make real positive change in how our seas are managed. We call on him to:

  1. Ensure Good Environmental Status by 2020 through a strong implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
  2. Complete an ecologically coherent network of well-managed marine protected areas by 2020, with the implementation of the Natura 2000 network (Birds and Habitats Directives) as the basis, in line with the requirements of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy;
  3. End overfishing and allow for the recovery of fish stocks, while minimising the impact of fishing on the wider marine environment through full and timely implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy;
  4. Ensure a sustainable blue economy that protects and maintains the diversity, productivity, resilience, and core functions of marine ecosystems through effective and integrated ocean governance under the Integrated Maritime Policy; and
  5. Strengthen international fisheries and maritime governance, including in relation to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, the conservation of endangered species, and the protection of the high seas.

You can read the Blue Manifesto here.

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Ben Purkies

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