Open letter to the Minister of Environment: Small voices with a big message

25 April 2019




Dear Minister,

As you know, our seas have been under attack for decades from pollution, littering, overfishing, or destruction of the seabed. Protecting and restoring our seas is a political issue.
 
The state of our oceans in numbers:

  • ̴ 275,000 tons of plastics enters the EU seas every year
  • 85% of Mediterranean fish stocks are overfished
  • ̴ 200 000 seabirds across Europe die in fishing gear every year
  • ̴ 44 000 sea turtles in the Mediterranean drown caught in fishing gear annually
As you are already aware, Members of the European Parliament and national Fisheries Ministers are debating how to spend 6 billion euros of EU taxpayers’ money in the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF). These negotiations will decide which activities we support at sea between 2021 and 2027.
 
So far, through the #oceanalert campaign, more than 61,000 citizens have asked the European Parliament and their Ministers to invest in our seas. With this open letter, we ask you to work for the protection of our seas and ensure that at least 25% (1.5 billion euros) of the European Maritime Fisheries Fund goes to this purpose.
 
There are many actions we must take to help turn the tide on the destruction of our seas, including:
  • End accidental death of animals: Research and test innovative solutions to solve problems such as seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles being incidentally caught in fishing gear
  • Preserve nature at sea: Set up marine protected areas and give local communities the tools they need to preserve their marine environment
  • Tackle plastics: Establish free waste and recycling facilities in ports to allow vessels to responsibly sort collected litter
  • Research marine life:  Track the movement of seabirds, whales, dolphins, and turtles to protect them better
Much of the above is  echoed in the concerned voices of our young supporters, who have worked hard to join their voices and send you this message.
 
The sustainable protection of our seas and marine resources and the safeguarding of fishermen’s’ livelihoods is a concern for the future generation that we very much share.
 
We hope that you will consider their message and that you will work for the good of our seas.
 
Kind regards,
 
Martin Hellicar
Director
 

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