Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Global bottom trawling ban fails

The United Nations will not act this year to limit high seas bottom trawling, thanks to opposition from fishing nations led by Iceland.

proposal was to ban bottom trawling in unregulated high seas areas, which include some 60% of ocean waters. The proposal was designed to protect vulnerable habitats such as seamounts and long-lived deep sea fish such as orange roughy and blobfish.

This failure isn't the end, international conservation action is always slow and progress made this year can be used to elevate the issue and spur future action.

Iceland led the fishing nations that harpooned the ban, and now some are proposing a boycott of Iceland for resuming whaling and also for blocking the bottom trawling ban.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mark

I keep hearing about Iceland "leading" the move to avoid considering a moratorium on high seas bottom-trawling at the UN, but was this a lone voice blocking an otherwise solid consensus, or were there other nations and entities which spoke against it besides Iceland?

As you may know the South Pacific was recently discussing the potential form of regional measures to address the currently unregulated status of bottom trawling on the high seas of this region, and progress in Hobart was also blocked, by a group of northern hemisphere countries. I'd be interested to know if they included the same countries blocking the issue at the UN.

As you say, this is by no means the end of the process. And even if global action is not possible just yet, sub-regional action may well be. Pacific Island states will again be looking at options for the tropical Pacific early next year, before the broader South Pacific "non-highly migratory species" RFMO meeting in Santiago in May 2007.

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