Uniting and activating powerful voices for ocean conservation

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Precautionary measures and legal threats at SPRFMO

Sparks will be flying at the 6th Meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO) in Lima, Peru from 30 January to 3 February, when a new measure designed to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems will be discussed. The measure put forward by the Australian and New Zealand governments is the result of a number of scientific workshops and introduces both a precautionary approach to spatial management – predicting where vulnerable ecosystems are found – and a “move-on” rule for bottom-trawlers, as required by the United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

©NOAA/Monterey Bay
Aquarium Research Institute

The New Zealand fishing industry are furious and have formally threatened to sue the New Zealand government if the measure is adopted, in order to stop  Read More ​ "their access rights to bottom trawling on the High Seas in the SPRFMO area being further eroded", as they see it.

However, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition – a group of NGOs working to ensure the protection of deep sea habitats – has urged SPRFMO members in its briefing paper not to let the threat of legal action stop the meeting from finalising and adopting the measure. It’s a result of an extensive series of consultations and it would be a sorry state of affairs if the interests of a segment of the fishing industry trumped the health of the Ocean and the will of the UN General Assembly.

Also on the agenda are a performance review and a boarding and inspection programme.

©Wolcott Henry

2018 – time for coral reefs to get more international attention

In the last Navigator (all the way back in 2017), we gave a heads up that 2018 will be the International Year of the Reef. Seeing as coral reefs are so incredibly important, we thought we’d give another shout out for them, especially as we just read another study that said the window for saving the world's coral reefs is rapidly closing.
Watch out for coral reefs at the Oscars on the 4th March, with film-maker Jeff Orlowski’s film “Chasing Corals” short-listed for a nomination for best documentary! ​ The film follows scientists, film-makers and Ocean lovers telling the story of the heart-wrenching death of parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Read Richard Branson’s blog on Why the Ocean needs an Oscar. The film is available on Netflix, so take a break from your latest series and enjoy this truly amazing and terrifying film, then tell the world how brilliant it is and add to the Oscar buzz. And why not get your country to sign up to the Coral Reef Life Declaration, if it hasn't done so already?