Recommendations for Transatlantic Cooperation on High Seas Governance
At the 2011 Alumni Conference of Lund University’s Master’s Program of International Environmental Science (LUMES) in Lund (Sweden), Elena von Sperber presented and discussed the results of the CALAMAR project, a transatlantic dialogue on marine governance lead by Ecologic Institute, which was concluded in June 2011.
For roughly 18 months experts from the US and the EU engaged in four different working groups with the aim of defining policy recommendations in the areas of: Oceans and Climate Change, High Seas, Integrated Marine Policies and Tools and EU/US Transatlantic Cooperation.
In her presentation, Elena focused on the outcomes of the working group on the high seas, which she coordinated throughout the process. The group included representatives from UNESCO, the International Seabed Authority, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, and various universities among others. Their aim was to identify opportunities for common EU and US approaches and possible collaborative efforts related to conservation and sustainable use of resources in the high seas. As a result, the group developed a series of policy recommendations focusing on the areas of prior impact assessments, the identification and management of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) as well as high seas governance.
Policy recommendations developed by the CALAMAR High Seas working group include:
- Strengthen prior impact assessments through work with the UN and Regional Management Fisheries Organisations (RFMOs)
- Identify EBSAs and VMEs through regional collaboration, including joint workshops for the North Atlantic
- Gain practical experience in establishing high seas Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) through regional area-based management initiatives such as the Sargasso Sea Alliance
- Improve implementation of UN Resolutions on bottom fishing, which require States to prevent significant adverse impacts on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs), or not authorize such fisheries to proceed
- Promote Integrated Management Tools, including Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) on the high seas
- Extend and improve international shipping requirements to include all classes of vessels, in particular fishing vessels
- Focus on joint approaches to improve surveillance and monitoring of the high seas
The presentation [pdf, 290 kB, English] was followed by a question and answer session and a lively discussion.