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Improved Seabed Protection From Bottom Trawling

NORWAY - Norway is leading the way in the work of protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems against bottom fishing. So far 800,000 square kilometres of seabed, or 38 per cent of the entire Norwegian waters are now protected through new national regulations.

The regulations governing bottom fishing in Norway's economic zone, the fisheries zone around Jan Mayen Island and in the Svalbard fishery protection zone came into force on 1 September. Based on the precautionary principle, the seabed deeper than 1,000 metres is regarded as vulnerable, as fishing gear may damage habitats and species such as corals and sponges.

"It is important that Norway faces up to the challenge set by the UN to protect vulnerable marine bottom habitats against destructive fishing methods. At the same time, it is important that we follow up the work that Norway is already carrying out in the regional fishery management organisations. Now that we have put in place a new set of regulations based on the same methods we use internationally, it strengthens Norwegian work in the fishery sector in general," says Ms Berg-Hansen.

All fishing activity has a footprint, and affects bottom dwelling species, habitats (the home of marine organisms) and ecosystems. The deep water habitats and ecosystems, in particular, risk permanent damage. The new regulations protect vulnerable seabed habitats in large parts of the Norwegian waters from such damage.

the Fish Site Editor

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