PRESS RELEASE – Brussels, 10 October 2007
More coherent approach to maritime policy welcomed
Following the presentation by the European Commission of its maritime strategy today, Green MEP and Vice-President of the EP Environment Committee Satu Hassi said:
“We welcome this attempt by the Commission to develop a more integrated and coherent approach to control the multiple and conflicting uses of the maritime environment in the EU.
“Shipping has been forgotten, to a large extent, in the current attempts to bring the growing CO2 emissions from transport in check but emissions from the shipping sector have also been rising, bucking the trend of non-transport sectors. We need strict emissions standards for maritime vessels, including retrofitting measures and fuel quality standards. We also need measures to tackle the damaging NOx and SO2 emissions from shipping. Oceans have been an important CO2 sink but this is leading to acidification of sea-water, which has profound impacts on all marine life, and we need to take measures to address this before it is too late.
“There is an urgent need to review the current EU labour law exemptions for the shipping and fishing sectors, which have led to wage dumping and worker exploitation. The application of minimum ILO standards must be a priority. With regard to maritime spatial planning, there is a need to integrate the mapping of trans-border sensitive areas and develop plan of efficient application of EU environmental legislation.”
Commenting on proposals to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and discards, French Green and EP rapporteur on IUU fishing Marie-Hélène Aubert said:
“We welcome the Commission’s commitment to take action towards ending the wanton, wasteful practise of discards (1). Tackling destructive fishing practices, such as high seas bottom trawling in sensitive habitats, is crucial to preventing our seas from becoming barren waters. Clearly, enforcement of rules and controls over vast marine areas is a challenge but it is essential for the future of our marine life.
“As the world’s largest market for fish and a major fishing power, the EU must take responsibility for combating pirate fishing, which remains rife despite the existence of an EU Action Plan: recent estimates suggest IUU fishing accounts for at least $2.4 billion a year, with much of this coming from the waters of developing countries (2). The Commission plans to publish its proposals on combating IUU fishing in the coming weeks, in response to the EP report of February 2007 (drafted by Marie-Hélène Aubert). This must include strict bans on trade in IUU-caught fish, which requires traceability of fish from “ship to shop”, black lists of vessels and countries involved in IUU fishing, and greater cooperation with developing countries. Most importantly, the regulation on IUU fishing must not be limited to foreign pirates, it must include fishing activities in EU waters and by EU vessels around the world.”