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New Evidence Of Baltic Sea Destruction

Welfare Environment

GLOBAL - A recent sea bed expedition done by the international marine conservation organisation, Oceana has highlighted the destructive nature of some fishing practices on the Baltic Sea. The never before seen images show how the lack of protection has led to some areas still being rich in marine life whilst others dead and devastated. Oceana experts are currently in Copenhagen to present the first findings from the expedition.

The images clearly reveal the dangerously poor state of the sea and serve as a reminder that there can be no further delay in actions to stop the acute degradation of the unique ecosystems of the Baltic from pollution, overfishing and destructive practices, like bottom trawling and dredging.

Some of the pictures andROV videosare shocking and alarming. We have seen areas where most life has been destroyed. But we have also found areas rich in life and unique biodiversity, and according to evidence in other parts of Europe and the rest of the world, these areas could be preserved if an effective network of Marine Protected Areas was created and properly managed, says Xavier Pastor, Oceana Europe Executive Director and expedition leader. It is clear that the governments need to act right now with protection measures if we want to stop the destruction of the Baltic Sea.

Oceana are calling for the better management of Baltic Sea resources, including fisheries and management of already designated protected areas. At present, around 12 per cent of the area is set aside for protection, but proper management plans and measures are lacking. Therefore, there is also a need to enlarge the existing network of protected areas to ensure that the last areas with functioning ecosystems are properly acknowledged.

Oceana urges that a ban on bottom trawling be put in place, for the sake of the biodiversity, and supports designating more no-take zones. Not only would this benefit the ecosystems of the Baltic Sea, but based on many studies, it would also benefit commercial fisheries which would experience higher catches in surrounding areas.

Anne Schroeer, Project Manager of the Oceana Baltic Project states how ecosystems must be allowed to recover if they are to meet the good environmental status by 2020, which is requested by law. Ms Schroeer also discusses how their evidence shows how the Baltic Sea could look if better management was introduced and also the problems which politicians from the Baltic countries would face if they do not live up to their responsibilities and obligations.

Oceanas expedition onboard the Hanse Explorer will continue until 4 June 2011. The final results and findings, including policy recommendations and concrete proposals for new marine protected areas, will be published in autumn.