Spain, Canada map marine ecosystems


Chris Dove, contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
August 24, 2009

Preliminary results of the Spanish-Canadian Nereida-2009 sustainable fishing campaign were presented at a meeting in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, on Monday. The gathering featured Elena Espinosa, Spain’s Minister for Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, and Loyola Sullivan, Canada’s Ambassador for Fisheries Affairs.

For the campaign, sedentary marine ecosystems vulnerable to bottom fishing are located and mapped, and measures are established to mitigate the impact of this activity as required by United Nations Resolution 61/105.

Oceanographic research vessel Miguel Oliver is exploring the marine ecosystems in international waters forming the regulatory area of NAFO (Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization). So far the vessel has mapped more than 36,000 square kilometers of ocean floor at depths between 700 and 2,000 meters.

In presenting the initial results from the Spanish-led campaign, Espinosa said Nereida-2009 allows organizations to recommend sound fisheries management plans.

“No approach to responsible fisheries can be developed without the sustainable use of fishery resources and conservation of marine biodiversity,” she said.

Espinosa highlighted Spain’s essential role in promoting marine research and strengthening scientific cooperation. She also called for temporary bans on areas of the ocean floor beyond national jurisdiction due to their special vulnerability, assessed on a case by case basis.

Canadian scientists onboard Miguel Oliver are now complementing the project with research vessel Hudson. The United Kingdom, United States and Russia are also involved in the project.

The mapping exercise will continue throughout 2010 when the final results will be made available.

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