End to bottom fishing on protected deep-sea ecosystems in EU waters

Based on the Deep-sea Access Regulation and on the advice from the scientists of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the new regulation protects 57 vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems while generating the least disruption possible to the fishing activities. The total area of the closures represents 16 419 km2 reserved for the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems below 400 metres. This represents 1.16% of the EU waters of the North-East Atlantic. The closures concern vessels equipped with bottom gears, meaning bottom trawls, dredges, bottom-set gill nets, bottom-set longlines, pots and traps.

The measure was drafted after extensive consultations with Member States and stakeholders, including the fishing industry and NGOs over the past two years. After the ban on bottom trawling below 800 meters, which was introduced in 2016, these closures offer further protection to help restore vulnerable marine ecosystems such as cold waters coral reefs, sea mounts and sea pens in deep waters.
The implementing act adopted today will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will be immediately applicable to all vessels of EU Member States and of third countries operating in EU waters.

The full press release can be found at oceans-and-fisheries.ec.europa.eu

More information about the EU biodiversity strategy can be found at environment.ec.europa.eu