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Heavy fuel oil ban in the Arctic up for discussion

The US and Canada, along with Iceland, Norway, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, have urged the next meeting of the International Maritime Organizations's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee in July 2017 to begin work on mitigating the risks of heavy fuel oil (HFO) use by ships in the Arctic. Earlier this year, in March, the European Parliament broadly supported this move by adopting its call for a ban on the use of HFO in Arctic waters.

The use of HFO by all vessels is currently prohibited in the Antarctic, but not yet in the Arctic, despite awareness that a leak of this dirty and polluting fossil fuel would wreak havoc on the icy environment and be nigh on impossible to clear up. Environmental NGO members of the Clean Arctic Alliance have been calling on the IMO, as the specialist body responsible for international shipping, to ban HFO use in the Arctic by 2020, and to urge the shipping industry to switch to higher quality, alternative fuels before the ban is in place.

Political momentum is increasing within the IMO, but passive support by parties is not enough. As July approaches, more IMO member states need to step forward and lend their voices to the growing numbers calling for an Arctic phase out of HFO. To stay on top of the latest news follow @HFOFreeArctic.

EU needs to step up efforts to implement sustainable fisheries policies

A report released just a few weeks ago by the European Commission highlighted that fisheries-control regulations in the EU are still not being adequately implemented and “more needs to be done to fully implement certain provisions,” according to EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

EU member states seem to be continuing to ignore scientific advice, granting quotas to industrial fishing fleets far above the scientifically recommended levels. And despite a ban on discards, fishing vessels are still throwing fish back into the sea, dead or dying. The fishing industry is locked in an absurd race to catch as much fish as possible, for maximum profit. This is short-term thinking, and if it continues will mean the further demise of both Europe’s fish stocks and the fishing industry.

This continued depletion of European fish stocks is already affecting fish populations, and also sections of the fishing industry throughout EU member states, especially small-scale fishers. To ensure sustainable sources of fish for the future, Our Fisha new campaign that launched last month focusing on the effective implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy, believes that European citizens must hold both industry and governments to account. Learn more about what you can do at http://our.fish/ and follow the campaign on Twitter at @our_fish

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