10/05/2021 at 12:03 PM CEST
The Environment Ministers of all the Northeast Atlantic countries, meeting last week in Cascáis (Portugal), all of them members of the Ospar Convention for the conservation of the marine environment, agreed together with the European Union to create a new Marine Area Protected (MPA) in the high seas for the protection and conservation of seabirds. It is the first step to declare protected 30% of the marine area occupied by the OSPAR Convention, which covers a large part of the North Atlantic.
The new protected area is, as highlighted by the ministers and the European Commissioner, of an exceptionally large area, since its surface area is greater than that of the whole of the United Kingdom and Germany combined. The new MPA is called the North Atlantic Current and the Evlanov Sea Basin (NACES).
It will cover a total of 600,000 square kilometers and protect an area that is considered of vital importance for seabirds. From tracking data, it has been proven that it is a very relevant place as a feeding area and that it is used both by seabirds that breed on the Northeast Atlantic coasts and by those that migrate across the planet or nest in other parts of the globe.
However, the meeting also served to launch OSPAR’s 2030 Northeast Atlantic Environmental Strategy, which sets targets for the next ten years. This strategy focuses on four areas: clean seas, biologically diverse seas, productive and sustainable seas, and seas resistant to climate change and ocean acidification.
Reduce the discharge of plastic pellets into the sea
Among the specific agreed purposes is the reduction of waste dumped into the sea by 50% by 2025 and 75% by 2030, as well as the commitment to designate 30% of the entire maritime area of the OSPAR Convention as MPAs for the year 2030.
Likewise, it was agreed to implement actions aimed at reduce the discharge of plastic pellets into the sea (small pieces of plastic in bulk to manufacture all kinds of objects) “through prevention standards and certification systems that cover the entire plastic supply chain & rdquor ;, according to a note made public after the meeting.
This action, the statement adds, is supported by a set of guidelines for contracting parties and the industry.
It was also decided the “protection of important kelp forest habitat so that the adverse effects of human activities and climate change are minimized & rdquor ;.
During the meeting, the ambassador for the oceans, Sylvia Earle, stated: “The actions that are taken in the next ten years will determine the destiny of the next 10,000 years”. For his part, OSPAR President Richard Cronin stated: “The time to talk is over, we are now embarking on a decade of action to protect and conserve the North East Atlantic.”
The Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Northeast Atlantic, or OSPAR Convention, signed in Paris on September 22, 1992, It was the result of recasting two previous conventions: the Oslo Convention for the prevention of marine pollution caused by spills from ships and aircraft, and the Paris Convention for the prevention of land-based marine pollution. It was ratified by Spain through an instrument of January 25, 1994 (published in the BOE of June 24, 1998).
The OSPAR Convention entered into force in 1998, therefore, as of that date, its articles are mandatory for the Contracting Parties: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the European Community. The contracting parties to this agreement meet every year, and every five years a ministerial meeting of the parties takes place.
OSPAR Agreement: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/costas/temas/proteccion-medio-marino/proteccion-internacional-mar/convenios-internacionales/convenio_ospar.aspx
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