Maria Damanaki and NOAA's Undersecretary Jane Lubchenco will sign a joint statement on IUU fishing. (Photo: EC/FIS)
European Fisheries Commissioner, NOAA sign IUU agreement
Thursday, September 08, 2011, 01:10 (GMT + 9)
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki is currently visiting the US to strengthen co-operation between the US and the European Union (EU) on various sectors of maritime and fisheries policy. She is focusing on a joint statement on the fight against Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing she will sign this Wednesday with Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Director of the US National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA).
During her visit this week, Damanaki will also exchange views with US government officials, stakeholders and NGOs on numerous global maritime and fisheries issues.
In her speech at the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Stakeholder Roundtable at the Meridian Institute, Damanaki highlighted the similarities between the US and the EU’s maritime problems, such as IUU fishing, overfishing and climate change, and how they hope to resolve them.
“Much like the National Oceans Policy of the US, the European Union's response to these challenges is now trying to be an Integrated Maritime Policy. A policy that strives to harness the potential of the sea to deliver smart and sustainable growth for the twenty-first century,” Damanaki stated.
She underscored the need to permanently switch to clean energy sources to avoid future accidents like the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the nuclear crisis that began in Japan last March, and how this can benefit the aquaculture sector.
“The massive expansion of offshore wind farms that we are planning over the next decade can deliver not only green energy, but also platforms that provide valuable space for an expansion of aquaculture or bio-fuel production,” Damanaki elaborated.
“We also want to push forward wave and tide energy, which complement wind energy by providing a more predicable supply. Other offshore renewable energies, such as ocean thermal energy conversion and salinity gradient, are more expensive because of their earlier stage of development, but can deliver clean energy and economic benefits,” she pointed out.
In the long term, the industry believes ocean energy has the potential to meet 15 per cent of the European electricity demand.
The EU research programme is investing approximately EUR 360 million per year on research regarding issues such as marine environment, maritime transport, marine energy and fisheries, she stated.
Damanaki strongly encouraged attendees and other stakeholders -- US-based think-tanks, research centres, non-profit organisations, NGOs and so on -- to submit proposals on fisheries or ocean affairs.
As well, she observed that the growing urban concentrations on the coasts, growing greenhouse gas emissions and rapidly disappearing ecosystems make coastal zones especially exposed to atmospheric shifts. The plan is to reduce uncertainty in future sea-level to save in sea defense.
“We are also currently speaking with NOAA and other partners about creating a joined-up observation system that fills gaps and avoids duplication. This will help reduce climate change uncertainty. And it is another good opportunity for transatlantic cooperation,” Damanaki remarked.
- Fisheries commissioner: fight against illegal fishing brings concrete results
By Natalia Real
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member European Commission - Fisheries and Maritime Affairs