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Endangered Species Foundation joins Deep Sea Conservation Coalition to protect vulnerable ecosystems

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

The Endangered Species Foundation is proud to announce that we are now members of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), which includes over 90 non-government organisations, fishers’ organisations and policy institutes worldwide, who are working together to protect vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems.

The Endangered Species Foundation supports high-priority conservation initiatives that protect New Zealand’s most vulnerable, indigenous species from extinction and supports the DSCC in its aims to substantially reduce the greatest threats to deep sea life.

“Unfortunately however we are seeing destructive fishing practices in much of New Zealand’s EEZ,” says Natalie Jessup, General Manager of the Endangered Species Foundation.
“These areas are home to many unique species, many of which we haven’t even discovered yet, and we need stronger measures to protect these unique and precious areas”.

Graphic illustrating bottom trawling on seamounts - Deep Sea Conservation Coalition

At present the six New Zealand vessels, authorised by the New Zealand government to trawl on seamounts in the South Pacific, all belong to companies with recent convictions for illegal trawling in closed areas.

“Sadly, New Zealand representatives have continually argued in South Pacific fisheries meetings against stricter regulation to protect seamounts and the diversity of deep-sea life they are home to”, says DSCC Campaigner Karli Thomas.
“It is great to have the support of the Endangered Species Foundation joining our campaign to protect seamount ecosystems and deep-sea species from the harmful impacts of bottom trawling and seabed mining,” says Karli Thomas, DSCC Campaigner.

The high seas fishing permits of the New Zealand vessels trawling in the South Pacific will expire in April, and the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries David Parker could end the destruction and protect the region’s precious deep-sea ecosystems by refusing to re-issue these permits.

Karli Thomas, of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, second from left, at Wellington mural, drawing attention to the threats to our deep sea life.

The Deep Sea Conservation priorities include ensuring that:

  • Seamount ecosystems in the high seas are protected from bottom trawling;

  • States honour their United Nations commitments to protect deep-sea species and ecosystems on the high seas from the harmful impacts of bottom fishing;

  • Authorities and governments across the globe issue a moratorium (official delay) on permitting any deep-sea mining until the risks are understood, it can be demonstrated that it will not cause damage to the marine environment, public support has been obtained, alternatives have been explored and governance issues have been resolved;

  • Protection of the deep sea is effectively addressed in the high seas treaty currently being negotiated at the United Nations.

The focus of the Endangered Species Foundation is to protect the rarest of the rare by drawing attention to key issues and funding projects that enable vulnerable species and their habitats to thrive. To kickstart our involvement with the DSCC we are joining a push from member groups, calling on the government to stop issuing high seas permits to fishing trawlers.

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