Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Portuguese NGOs call for deepsea biodiversity conservation

The Portuguese newspaper "Publico" reports today that our friends from the three largest Portuguese NGOs are calling on the Portuguese Government to clarify their position on a major marine biodiversity conservation issue.

GEOTA, LPN and Quercus are asking their Goverment to come out in support of a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling at the UN General Assembly later this year. All three organisations are members of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.

There have been mixed signals coming from Portugal, on the proposed moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. At the end of May during a Workshop on high seas biodiversity conservation held in Lisbon, Portugal's Environment Secretary Humberto Rosa implied that high seas bottom trawling had no future. But a few days later, a Portuguese Fisheries official stated that Portugal could not support a high seas moratorium.

It is hard to tell whether the Fisheries official position was only the expression of his personal belief.

Meanwhile, a few days ago the Norwegian coastguards have announced that they have arrested an unflaged pirate trawler with Portuguese corporate ties, in the high sea area currently the subject of a jurisdictional dispute between Norway and the Russian Federation (photo).

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