The EU Marine Directive requires Member States to achieve clean, healthy and productive EU seas by 2020 - a much needed holistic approach to marine management. However, 2020 is only two years away and NGOs are concerned that action by Member States is too slow and Programmes of Measures too weak. Seas At Risk* has therefore launched a campaign to get European citizens involved to encourage EU Ministers to take further action to achieve their noble commitment.
The campaign will be launched on October 5th at Our Oceans Conference 2017. It will consist in a video animation, a petition and a social media hashtag and competition - #emojiocean - to enable people to use the now universal language of emojis to describe their love for the oceans.
Under the EU Marine Directive there are 11 objectives including a requirement for fish stocks to be healthy, biodiversity maintained, and litter at a level that does not cause harm. Sadly EU member states are on course to fail these objectives:
- Over 40% of fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic (where the respective scientific advice exists) are still overfished, reaching 90% in the Mediterranean; and discards for some species are also over 90%
- While 9% of EU seas are in Marine Protected Areas, only a very small %, probably less than 1% are fully protected from damaging fishing gear
- 100,000 tonnes of marine litter enter the ocean from European coastal regions per year. 799 different species have been found to suffer from ingestion or entanglement including fish, dolphin, whale and bird species around the EU
We need Member States to step up to the challenge and do more to ensure they meet their 2020 legal commitments by:
- Ending overfishing - with no fishing quotas set above scientific levels
- Establishing well managed Marine Protected Areas covering 30% of our seas as scientists recommend
- Introducing radical measures to stop plastic waste entering our seas and harming marine life
Environment & Fisheries Ministers are meeting in December when we will aim to deliver our petition and ask them for a renewed commitment to implement the Marine Directive as they only have two years left to achieve this goal.