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 user 2007-05-07 at 10:53:00 am Views: 52
  • #18122

    S.Pacific to stop bottom trawling
    quarter of the world’s oceans will be protected from fishing boats
    which drag heavy nets across the sea floor, South Pacific nations have
    agreed.The landmark deal will restrict bottom trawling, which experts
    say destroys coral reefs and stirs up clouds of sediment that suffocate
    marine life.Observers and monitoring systems will ensure vessels remain
    five nautical miles from marine ecosystems at risk.The South Pacific
    contains the last pristine deep-sea marine environment.It extends from
    the Equator to the Antarctic and from Australia to the western coast of
    South America.The high seas encompass all areas not included in the
    territorial sea or in the internal waters of a country.

    ‘Precautionary measures’
    agreement reached in the coastal town of Renaca in Chile will come into
    force on 30 September.It will close to bottom trawling areas where
    vulnerable marine ecosystems are known or are likely to exist, unless a
    prior assessment is undertaken and highly precautionary protective
    measures are implemented.The delegation from New Zealand, whose
    fishermen are responsible for 90% of bottom trawling in the South
    Pacific high seas, said the restrictions would “severely constrain” its
    fishing vessels.”Because of the cost implications of the necessary
    research and assessment and observer requirements, it may even have the
    effect of putting an end to bottom trawling,” it said.The Deep Sea
    Conservation Coalition, an alliance of leading environmental and
    conservation groups, welcomed the agreement.

    Because of the cost
    implications of the necessary research and assessment and observer
    requirements, [the agreement] may even have the effect of putting an
    end to bottom trawling New Zealand delegation”This is a major step
    forward in the protection of biodiversity on the high seas,” Matthew
    Gianni, a spokesman for the group, said.Mr Gianni said the deal was the
    first step taken towards implementing a UN resolution passed in
    December, which urged the adoption of unilateral “precautionary
    measures” to ensure bottom-trawlers do not cause significant
    damage.”This is the most significant meeting of fishing nations since
    the UN General Assembly resolution and it has done what the resolution
    required.”"It can be done, it has been done, and it’s time for all
    countries to do the same in all other ocean regions.”In addition to the
    weighted nets and rollers which crush coral reefs, bottom trawling
    targets slow-growing species of fish, such as orange roughy, which take
    decades to reach breeding age.Such species are especially vulnerable to
    overfishing because the population replenishes itself very slowly.Last
    month, leading scientists warned there would be no sea fish left in 50
    years if current practices continued.