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High level Conference on Oceans 

On Tuesday, Parliament and the Commission will host a conference covering global ocean governance, a sustainable blue economy, and healthy, clean seas and oceans.

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT), and the Commissioner for Environment and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, will open the High-level conference on Tuesday, 19 March at 14.00.


The President will give a keynote speech at 16.45.


WHERE: Plenary chamber, European Parliament, PHS Building (Rue Wiertz 60 - Bruxelles).

WHEN: Tuesday 19 March (14:00-18:45).


The programme of the conference is available here. You can follow it live here.


Hashtag: #OceansEU


President Tajani said: “The European Parliament wants to respond immediately to the millions of young people who have taken to the streets to attract attention to protecting the environment. We are with you. The European Parliament is at the forefront of the fight for our planet. We face a crisis with historic social, economic, political and environmental consequences. Our institution believes that economic prosperity, global industrial competitiveness and environment policy are complementary. We cannot continue to exploit and pollute our oceans and we have fought to include their conservation and intelligent use in the UN Millennium Development Goals” he said.


“By 2050, plastic waste could outweigh the fish in our oceans. A zero-tolerance policy against marine plastic pollution is essential and it is why the European Parliament voted to ban single-use plastics. Using non-plastic substitutes means cleaner oceans and billions of euros in savings” he added.


Commissioner Vella said: “The state of our ocean calls for determined action, at local, regional and global level. Over the last years, the European Union has developed ambitious policies, from banning single use plastics to fighting illegal fisheries. We have agreed on 50 actions to create ocean governance that are already well on track. These actions will help us to reduce environmental pressures, but also to foster the blue economy and create sustainable growth. There is still a great deal to do, and the EU will continue to demonstrate leadership in ocean policy.”


Practical information for journalists


Journalists that already hold permanent media accreditation with the European Parliament will be able to access the event. For those not holding permanent media accreditation, requests to attend the conference can be sent to media.accreditation@ep.europa.eu. Video and photo journalists should get special accreditation (“T-badge”) to be allowed to use their cameras during the conference.


Background


The EU has agreed on a new, ambitious EU policy to restrict certain single-use plastic products and thereby reduce plastic pollution. The same legislation will also counter the issue of lost fishing gear, which accounts for 20% of marine litter in Europe.


It uses its economic weight as the world’s largest importer of fish products to convince its trading partners to address illegal fishing. Because of that, no less than 14 countries have already adapted their practices and legislation to fight illegal fishing.


More than 10% of our marine and coastal areas are now designated as Marine Protected Areas, two years ahead of the EU’s international obligations.


Thanks to the common fisheries policy (CFP), 59 fish stocks are fished sustainably, compared to five fish stocks in 2009. This year, almost 99% of solely EU-managed landings in the Baltic, North Sea and the Atlantic will be at sustainable levels. At the same time, profits in the fisheries sector have never been higher. This proves that environment and economy can go hand in hand.