September 3, 2008

U.N. Adopts Guides for Deep-Sea Fishing

A United Nations agency said Wednesday it has adopted international guidelines designed to ease the impact of commercial deep-sea fishing.

The guidelines, the result of two years of negotiation, limit the impact fishing has on habitats and deep-sea fish species, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in a news release issued from New York.

"Until now, there really hasn't been an international framework for tackling this issue," said Ichiro Nomura, assistant director general of the organization's Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "These guidelines ... are a breakthrough in that they address both environmental and fisheries management concerns in an integrated manner."

The guidelines include measures to be used to identify and protect ecosystems and offer guidance on the sustainable use of living resources in deep-sea areas, Nomura said.

They also recommend that fishing nations assess the deep-sea fishing by their fleets to determine whether any adverse impacts are involved. If significant adverse impacts are found, the guidelines said the fishing activity should stop.