Deep Sea Conservation Coalition

UN General Assembly Resolutions and Implementation

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition has been a key player in highlighting the impacts of deepwater fishing on seamounts and other vulnerable marine ecosystems and unsustainable fishing practices of bottom trawling.

The UN General Assembly resolutions have been key to getting fishery management organisations to meet their international commitments.  Last year there was an open review of implementation of resolutions adopted through the UNGA review workshop 15-16 September, and later the sustainable fisheries resolution.

As with previous years, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) has held its own parallel review and this report (electronic version available here) indicates that fishing States are falling short of obligations. Countries have agreed to UN resolutions but failed to implement them effectively, and the oceans can't afford another international agreement that States fail to deliver on.  It is clear from the progress that has been made that where there is political will, bottom trawling can be regulated and stopped in VME areas.  With further political will, the resolutions can be fully implemented but without full implementation the DSCC position is that there should be no fishing on the high seas.

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) has been directly addressing decision makers, urging them to protect the deep sea that is our common heritage.

Further updates on the DSCC blog here and their campaign website here

Rio+20 and Deep Sea Governance

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and the High Seas Alliance to get commitments in six clear areas for international and national action:  

  • Fulfillment of the UN resolution to end deep sea bottom fishing;

  • An end to overfishing—including the suspension of fishing in some cases until stocks have recovered;

  • Requirement that regional fisheries management bodies be accountable to the UN;

  • National action to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies;

  • Closure of ports to illegally obtained fish;

  • Establishment of national and high seas marine protected areas, including reserves.

The major disappointment was around the drive to launch negotiations of a new agreement to protect the high seas. A disappointing outcome defers a decision for two and a half years. In spite of excellent leadership and support by Brazil, the European Union the Pacific Small Island Developing States and others, this weak decision was all that was possible, due to opposition from the US, Canada and a handful of other countries. 

An explanation of how the oceans deals with these issues is available on and further coverage of the oceans at Rio+20 can be found at