87 sensitive zones have been closed to all bottom fishing gears in the EU waters of the North-East Atlantic – ultimately protecting 57 vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems.
“Our oceans and fisheries depend on healthy marine ecosystems. By closing 17% of the area between 400-800 meters depth of EU waters of the North-East Atlantic to bottom fishing gears, we are delivering on our commitment to protect and restore marine life,” says Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries. “It is our duty to our society, to the future generations and in particular to those whose livelihood depend on marine resources.”
16,419 km2 of total land area has been closed for the protection of these vulnerable marine ecosystems. No bottom gears are allowed in this space — including bottom trawls, dredges, bottom-set gill nets, bottom-set longlines, pots, and traps. The new act is set to be immediately applicable to all vessels operating within EU waters.