Deep sea corals – One step back, two steps forward?
The deep water coral Madrepora oculata, from the
Dec. 7th was a cold dark day for deep cold-water corals, as the UNGA formally adopted its resolution negotiated last month in
Excerpt from the statement on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Nations, made by
“We are very disappointed that some States were unwilling to support such an approach. We consider that an interim prohibition would have been the clearest and most effective means for dealing with the impacts of bottom fishing in areas where there are no multilateral measures in place, and none in prospect. An interim prohibition would have further encouraged the development of new RFMOs for unregulated areas. We were further disappointed that a small number of States were not willing to consider a freeze on the expansion of bottom fisheries in unregulated waters from current levels. We believe this goes against the intent and spirit of many of the measures agreed in this year’s resolution. . . . . .”
Trawling Moratorium Dead in the Water
However, two days later (Dec 9) within the final few hours of the 109th U.S. Congress legislation was passed that establishes a new national policy for the conservation of deep sea coral ecosystems. The coral provisions give our regional fishery management councils unambiguous discretionary authority to protect deep sea coral ecosystems and establish a deep water coral research program at NOAA (subject to appropriations). Such deep water coral legislation is a major marine policy focus at MCBI.
MCBI press release – Congress Passes Legislation to Protect Deep Sea Corals from Fishing Gear
For exact text go to: Search Thomas (enter “H.R. 5946” in the search bar, see listing 2 (phrase exactly as entered.), sections 105 and 211 for the deep water coral provisions)
Posted by Steven Lutz