The so-called Marine “Protected” Areas in Europe are not protected at all. Fishing gears that scrape the seabed and destroy marine flora and fauna, such as trawlers and bottom seines, are perfectly allowed to exploit them on a daily basis.
Today, 86% of the so-called “protected” European waters are intensively trawled . A scientific study published in the journal “Science” even shows that for over two thirds of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Northern Europe, trawling is 1.4 times more intense inside the so-called “protected” area than outside .
The ocean and the marine ecosystem are at the heart of the fight against global warming. Each year, the ocean absorbs 25% of our greenhouse gas emissions, slowing the rate at which CO2 increases in the atmosphere. The ocean is in fact our best ally in the combat against climate change.
In the absence of extractive human activities, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) allow for a spectacular regeneration of marine ecosystems and animal populations. A truly untouched area of the ocean can even see the biomass of marine species increase to the point of contributing to the overall recovery of marine biodiversity and ecosystems.
On May 3rd, the European Parliament is due to vote in plenary session on an amendment demanding a ban on bottom trawling in MPAs. It is part of an own-initiative report by the Fisheries Committee. Although own-initiative reports are not binding, its vote in plenary is of paramount importance: it will signal the European Parliament’s level of ambition on MPAs. This political act will therefore be the cornerstone of future European actions to protect the ocean, essential global climate regulator.
While the last IPCC report calls on public authorities to take immediate and structural action to limit global warming at 1,5°C, the vote on this text — a concrete opportunity to protect humanity from the predicted catastrophe — will be a trial by fire for our political institutions.
Predictably, the European right, historical ally of the industrial lobbies, is putting together a plan to nip any climate or environmental ambition in the bud.
But we have thwarted the cynicism of the lobbyists several times. Remember: it was with you and thanks to you that we achieved a ban on deep-sea trawling or on electric fishing at the European level. The fundamental European regulations for the protection of nature that we achieved are the result of your unfailing support during our campaigns. It is your support, your mobilisation that makes the difference. It is tempting to think, while clicking on your screen, that a signature is not much to make a difference. But for years now, your clicks, your messages, your mobilisation have made us win.
Victory is within reach. Help us win the vote on May 3rd in the European Parliament so that so-called “Protected” Marine Areas are truly protected from destructive fishing gear. The effectiveness of individual actions is undeniable: they make a collective difference.
Sign and share! Let’s be a citizen wave in support of the amendment!