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Monday, 3 October 2022 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

10. Momentum for the Ocean: strengthening Ocean Governance and Biodiversity (debate)
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  Przewodnicząca. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dziennego jest oświadczenie Komisji w sprawie impulsu do działań na rzecz oceanów: poprawa zarządzania oceanami i różnorodności biologicznej (2022/2836(RSP)).

 
  
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  Adina-Ioana Vălean, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, let me thank you for the welcome opportunity to have this discussion today on ocean governance and biodiversity. The ocean is our planet’s life-support system. And still, debates like this one are needed to keep the spotlight on the ocean and to reiterate our joint commitment towards better management and protection of our oceans.

Honourable Members, the ocean is not doing well. Insufficient progress has been made over the last years towards a clean, healthy, productive and resilient ocean. And this is our collective responsibility. Solutions exist and they are in our hands. They require bold choices, which need to be made now. And with the largest combined exclusive economic zone in the world, the EU and its Member States have a particular interest in steering this debate and reaffirming their ambition for an improved ocean governance. The role and the support of the European Parliament is crucial in this regard. Today’s debate and the resolution that you will adopt later this week therefore come at exactly the right moment. And this year, 2022, is a pivotal year for ocean governance. Milestone events have taken place in 2022, like the one Ocean Summit in Brest or the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. In a few weeks time, the Climate Change COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh will be an opportunity to further strengthen ocean climate change, mitigation and adaptation action. And the biodiversity COP15 in Montreal will aim at an ambitious agreement, including targets to protect land and global oceans by 2030.

Honourable Members, as we have often said, there is no green without blue and under the umbrella of the European Green Deal, this translates in both the international and the EU domestic strands of ocean related policies. With the joint Communication on the EU’s International Ocean Governance Agenda of June this year, the EU confirms its commitments under the United Nations 2030 Agenda and ahead of the two decisive COPS later this year. In this context, one of the key priorities we have is to halt and reverse the loss of marine biodiversity. We hope to achieve this by concluding as soon as possible an ambitious UN treaty to protect biodiversity in the high seas, including a target of 30% marine protected areas by 2030 and new large-scale marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean.

With the High Ambition Coalition, which you have launched, we are at the forefront of the efforts to achieve an ambitious outcome to these negotiations. At the last negotiating round that took place in New York in August, the EU took a leading role and it was instrumental in achieving very good progress, even though, unfortunately, in the end no final agreement could be reached.

Another priority is to protect the seabed by prohibiting deep-sea mining until its effects on the marine environment, biodiversity, human activities have been sufficiently researched, the risks are understood and the technologies and operational practices are able to demonstrate no serious harm to the environment.

Furthermore, we need to ensure sustainable fisheries with a zero tolerance approach against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In this context, we welcome the multilateral agreement achieved in the World Trade Organization regarding the ban of harmful fisheries subsidies. Yes, it is only the first step, but the EU is fully committed to complementing this agreement as soon as possible with those essential elements not yet agreed. Our fight against climate change and against marine pollution continues as well. This includes decarbonising the maritime sectors and preserving the oceans-blue carbon function, as well as work towards concluding an ambitious, legally-binding global plastic agreement by 2024.

Last but not least, we need to step up efforts to build up ocean knowledge. Based on European programmes such as Copernicus and EMODnet, we want to support the implementation of a UN Decade Collaborative Centre for Ocean Prediction and encourage the establishment of an Intergovernmental Panel for Ocean Sustainability.

Honourable Members, our international efforts to improve ocean governance clearly mirror the ambition of our domestic policies. The ocean, which acts as a significant carbon sink - notably its seabed, is one of our strongest allies when it comes to reaching our climate goals. Let me recall that we proposed a new standard on greenhouse gas intensity of energy used on board ships. We are working with the co-legislators on extending the EU ETS to maritime transport and we are also helping the fishing sector to decarbonise and to become less dependent on fossil fuels. And climate mitigation efforts need to go hand-in-hand with sustained and robust action on adaptation, to make our oceans as resilient as possible. Nature based solutions are at the forefront of our action.

In this context, we have proposed legally-binding EU targets to restore marine ecosystems. Looking at how the ocean can support our decarbonisation efforts, offshoring renewable energy is one of the pillars of the EU’s energy transition, but we will need to look beyond offshore wind. The energy from tides and waves are predictable and promise to complement today’s technologies for wind and sun. Maritime spatial planning will help us to reconcile decarbonisation objectives, but also nature protection and restoration at sea.

As regards the oceans economic potential, the implementation of our communication on the sustainable blue economy has already brought many positive achievements. The implementation of the Commission’s strategic guidelines for aquaculture has been advancing and we will shortly adapt an EU algae initiative which will bring new opportunities for our blue economy. In parallel will continue our joint efforts with Member States and coastal communities to make EU fisheries more sustainable. Important progress has already been made in the Atlantic, clearly showing that the sustainability pays off also economically, but additional efforts will be necessary also in other sea basins. We are fully aware that, first, Brexit and then the COVID pandemic and now the Russian ruthless invasion of Ukraine and its consequences pose enormous challenges to the fishing sector. The EU has reacted quickly, proposing two emergency packages in 2020 and 2022 respectively, to support the fisheries sector in addressing the socio-economic consequences. We now need to further help our fishermen and women to decrease their dependency on fossil fuels and make our fisheries more resilient.

Finally, let me mention research and innovation, which also play a key role to unlock the oceans for potential. Horizon Europe, and in particular the mission to restore the health of our ocean and waters by 2030, can contribute to scaling up solutions and help us to achieve the blue targets of the European Green Deal. And we also need to raise awareness about oceans and increase ocean literacy, in particular of the young generation. Our Ocean Literacy Initiative, the Youth for Ocean Coalition, the Network of European Blue Schools and the EU4Ocean Forum are instrumental in this regard.

Honourable Members, we all know that only healthy oceans can be climate mitigators and provide services for our blue economy. Therefore, it’s not a luxury, but it is a necessity to prevent and mitigate the pressures provoking the biodiversity loss in our seas. We are now at a crucial moment in which we have the opportunity to put in place concrete actions to stop biodiversity loss, as well as restoring the marine ecosystems, and sustainable fisheries play a key role in this context, and the recent Commission proposal for a new nature restoration law, as well as the upcoming action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems, will not only contribute to protecting and restoring our seas, but also to making the fisheries sector in Europe more resilient in the long term. Thank you for your attention and I am looking forward for your comments.

 
  
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  Pernille Weiss, for PPE-Gruppen. – Fru Formand! Ocean Governance - altså området for politikker og aktiviteter, der vedrører havet og kystnære områder og de mange marine ressourcer får nu en betænkning her fra Europa-Parlamentet. Det gør den blandt andet, fordi vi i alt for mange år ikke har prioriteret havets biodiversitet og muligheder højt nok. Det må vi ikke blive ved med, fordi det på lang sigt jo handler om klodens overlevelse, og på kort sigt handler det om det Europa, vores børn og børnebørn skal overtage efter os. Men også fordi en stor del af vores økonomiske og økologiske bæredygtighed nemlig afhænger af, hvordan vi behandler havene i og omkring EU. Betænkningen er blevet noget lang, fordi den gentager en hel del af det, vi allerede har sagt, at vi er enige om i forhold til biodiversitet. Men den siger også noget nyt og noget vigtigt, nemlig at vi skal have sat skub i udrulningen af vindenergi – også den flydende del af slagsen. Vi skal selvfølgelig også blive ved med at bore klogt i havbunden, så vi kan få fat i den energi, vi simpelthen ikke kan undvære lige nu. Vi skal også blive ved med at bore klogt i havbunden for at skabe udvikling for CO2 frem for lagring. Flere analyser viser, at det sagtens kan lade sig gøre, uden at det ødelægger de marine økosystemer. Og så skal vi generelt tillægge os en meget mere innovativ tilgang til havets skatte og muligheder. Den blå økonomi med søfart, turisme og endnu ukendte og ikke udbredte grønne teknologier skal have mere fokus, og det får de forhåbentlig med denne betænkning.

 
  
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  Cyrus Engerer, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, there are many legends that come from my island: they say that we are home to Atlantis, the legend of Calypso, and that we stand at the point where the plates of Europe and Africa kiss. And while the legends that we are told by fishermen weaving their nets are fables, the deep and intricate relationship between islands and oceans is not.

In 1967, one of the greatest marine conservationists of our time called for the ocean seabed to be designated as the common heritage of mankind: a concept still sacrosanct in Article 136 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He called for international regulation to prevent the colonisation of our seabed and the monopolisation of resources to the detriment of our planet. That man was Maltese diplomat Arvid Pardo, father of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. And here I am today to reiterate his call, because colleagues, those of us who come from islands have known for all too long that our oceans are just as much a part of us as the land and trees. We depend on the oceans and our homes and livelihoods depend on the seas.

We are constantly reminded that exploitation and pollution will forever affect the global ecosystem that we call home. And today, there is renewed interest from the private sector to look into the commercial exploitation of these minerals. Technological advances and an increase in the long—term demand for minerals, industrialisation and globalisation have led to this strong path. In 1967, when the Maltese delegation brought forward the radical notion that our seabed is imperative to humanity’s ecosystem, they were viewed with astonishment and great suspicion. But science has vindicated Arvid Pardo, and time and time again we are here to reiterate that message again today.

The latest smartphone and the next supercomputer made from seabed minerals are not worth the irreversible destruction of our planet. And I hope that this Chamber votes in this way on Thursday.

 
  
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  Catherine Chabaud, au nom du groupe Renew. – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, enfin un débat et une résolution sur l’océan! L’Union européenne doit s’appuyer sur sa dimension maritime, engager un pacte bleu au sein du pacte vert, et en faire une force pour porter ses valeurs à travers le monde.

Il y a urgence: tous les phénomènes météorologiques extrêmes que nous connaissons puisent leur énergie du réchauffement en profondeur de l’océan – une conséquence directe du réchauffement climatique, avec l’élévation du niveau de la mer et l’acidification.

Pour continuer à nourrir l’humanité, mais aussi à développer les économies des régions littorales, où se concentrera 80 % de la population mondiale d’ici 2050, nous devons impérativement accélérer sa restauration. C’est une question de survie, notamment pour les régions ultrapériphériques de l’Europe, qui lui assurent sa dimension maritime.

Régénérer cette «hydrosphère» – l’océan, les mers et les rivières –, comme l’appelle la mission Starfish, suppose de faire converger toutes les politiques européennes – biodiversité, climat, énergie, transports, eau, traitement des déchets – et de mieux coordonner la gouvernance.

À mesure que l’on explore l’océan, on découvre toutes ses richesses pour l’humanité: un réservoir aux multiples ressources – énergétiques, génétiques, minérales –, celles-là même qui s’amenuisent sur la Terre.

Mais ne reproduisons pas en mer les erreurs que nous avons faites sur terre. Le mouvement imprimé par les grandes conférences internationales de cette année 2022 poursuit l’objectif de donner un cadre: celui d’un avenir durable avec l’océan, et l’Union européenne et les États membres négocient l’avenir de la planète. Le Parlement doit impérativement s’emparer de ce sujet.

Il n’y a qu’un seul océan: il est notre bien commun, et il y va de notre responsabilité individuelle et collective de le préserver. C’est un instrument pour la paix et pour le multilatéralisme.

Chers collègues, j’appelle l’Union européenne à se tourner résolument vers la mer et à porter ce message, que moi-même, dans un mois, je porterai, Madame la Présidente, en retraversant l’Atlantique en solitaire. Ce sera mon défi, Madame la Commissaire, pour l’océan.

 
  
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  Grace O’Sullivan, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, there is great news from Ireland today. As of today, one of the largest living creatures on earth can celebrate a small victory. As of today, the great basking shark has been given protected status in Irish waters. And with this resolution we table in the European Parliament, as of today we make our voices heard that the protection of our ocean is not just a kind gesture to the very place where life began, but an urgent necessity if we are to protect biodiversity, the seas and even our atmosphere.

Our demands are modest, yet they still face opposition from powerful industrial and political interests. We want real marine protected areas for at least 30% of our oceans; an international moratorium on deep—sea mining now; and a total ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and the Antarctic. These are real steps we can make in order to save thousands of species – such as the basking shark – from extinction. So support our coastal communities, support ocean life and support this resolution.

 
  
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  France Jamet, au nom du groupe ID. – Madame la Président, ça a été dit, pêche illégale, piraterie, protection des systèmes marins, l'économie bleue est à la fois l'un des grands défis du XXIᵉ siècle, mais aussi un foyer d'innovation vers une nouvelle économie de la mer.

Face à la montée des tensions sur les océans, la France, deuxième domaine maritime mondial – est-il utile de rappeler ici? – sera en première ligne pour affronter ces crises majeures, notamment dans l'océan Indien et Pacifique, nouveau centre économique du monde de demain.

Certains États, comme l'Inde, ne demandent qu'à coopérer davantage avec nous. Ces coopérations internationales plus étroites dans l'Indo-Pacifique sont nécessaires car les défis sont communs. Avec la France, grâce à la France, l'Europe prendra toute sa part dans cette nouvelle économie.

 
  
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  Anja Hazekamp, namens de The Left-Fractie. – Voorzitter, zeeën en oceanen zijn essentieel voor het leven op aarde. Desondanks gebruiken we de oceaan als vuilnisbak, als jachtgebied en als industrieterrein, en boren we de zeebodem kapot op zoek naar gas en olie.

Welke acties onderneemt de Europese Commissie om het wereldwijde beschermingsverdrag voor de internationale wateren zo snel mogelijk met succes aan te passen? Hoever is de Commissie met haar voorstellen om minstens 30 % van de zeeën in Europa en het liefst natuurlijk ook daarbuiten eindelijk echt te gaan beschermen?

Ik wil ook graag aandacht vragen voor de walvissen. Al sinds 1986 is er een wereldwijd verbod op de walvisjacht. Ondanks dit verbod jagen Noorwegen, Japan, de Deense Faeröereilanden – en sinds dit jaar helaas ook weer IJsland – op walvissen. Dat is wreed en onverantwoord. Walvissen (en hun poep) zijn cruciaal voor het ecosysteem en onmisbaar in de strijd tegen klimaatverandering. Het Europees Parlement doet daarom opnieuw een oproep aan Noorwegen, Japan, maar zeker ook aan IJsland en de Faeröereilanden, om de jacht op walvissen en dolfijnen voor eens en voor altijd te stoppen. Is de Commissie bereid om deze oproep te steunen en deze landen, inclusief IJsland, hierop aan te spreken?

Voorts ben ik van mening dat de Europese landbouw- en visserijsubsidies moeten worden afgeschaft.

 
  
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  François-Xavier Bellamy (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, mes chers collègues, enfin nous avons une discussion sur la stratégie de l’Union européenne pour les océans! Et vous l’avez dit, chers collègues: il était temps! L’Union européenne est la première zone économique exclusive du monde et elle doit, aujourd’hui, assumer cette responsabilité: elle est légitime pour agir.

Cette négociation sur le texte que nous discutons ensemble, cette longue négociation, aura permis de faire apparaître entre nous – n’ayons pas peur de l’affronter – des désaccords évidents. Certains voudraient protéger la vie et l’environnement en multipliant les contraintes sur ceux qui travaillent en mer, notamment dans nos pays européens, au point de rendre impossible tout effort humain lié à la mer et à l’océan. Nous avons même entendu certains nous dire que le déclin de la pêche européenne, par exemple, serait une bonne nouvelle.

C’est ne pas comprendre que l’essentiel du défi environnemental, aujourd’hui, ne consiste pas à surréglementer plus encore les activités des professionnels européens – qui, déjà, respectent les normes les plus exigeantes au monde –, mais à faire en sorte que les autres puissances mondiales assument avec nous une responsabilité qui nous est commune.

Il est nécessaire que ce texte réaffirme l’impératif de la lutte contre la pêche illégale dans le monde entier, la nécessité de mettre en œuvre un plan déterminé contre la pollution plastique et celle de faire progresser la recherche sur ce monde encore très largement inconnu qu’est l’océan.

Au fond, nous ne nous sortirons pas du défi environnemental par moins d’efforts et de travail. Nous ne nous en sortirons que par plus de science, plus de recherche, plus d’engagement des hommes pour protéger ce patrimoine qui nous est commun.

 
  
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  Isabel Carvalhais (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, gostaria, nesta breve intervenção, de saudar o empenho de todos os que participam ativamente neste importante trabalho. A saúde dos oceanos e da sua biodiversidade é essencial à vida, já o sabemos, bem como à sustentabilidade a longo prazo dos diferentes setores da economia azul. Desde o contributo para a segurança alimentar de milhões de pessoas, até ao fornecimento de energia renovável e de recursos minerais, passando pela criação de emprego nas comunidades costeiras, os oceanos são fonte de vida e também de imensa riqueza.

Ora, garantir a boa saúde dos oceanos implica também garantir, entre outras medidas, obviamente, que a frota da União Europeia continue a respeitar as medidas de gestão e conservação dos stocks de pesca. É fundamental assegurar a concessão de regras harmonizadas à frota da União Europeia, independentemente da área geográfica onde opere, não podendo ser esquecidas as condições de concorrência equitativa para todas as frotas que operam ao abrigo das convenções internacionais.

Quer isto dizer, para terminar, que deve existir um esforço contínuo também para que as medidas de conservação e gestão, adotadas no âmbito das diferentes convenções regionais, se aproximem o mais possível dos objetivos ambiciosos da política comum das pescas, como forma de alargar a linguagem da sustentabilidade dos oceanos a todas as latitudes.

 
  
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  Pierre Karleskind (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, 2022, c'est vraiment une année dédiée aux océans et donc cette résolution tombe à point. Cela avait commencé à Brest avec le One Océan Summit, ça s'est poursuivi à Lisbonne avec la conférence des Nations unies, on peut parler de Charm el-Cheikh aussi, et puis la COP-15 qui aura lieu au Canada sur la biodiversité, tous ces éléments qui sont réunis pour faire de l'année 2022 une grande année de l'océan.

Et puis 2022 pour l'Europe, c'est l'année européenne de la jeunesse. Je voudrais prendre quelques exemples. 120 ambassadeurs des océans étaient réunis à La Rochelle à l'occasion de la présidence française. Ils ont parlé de l'avenir des formations, d'un Erasmus+ maritime. Je veux parler aussi de cette excellente initiative de la Commission européenne qui date de 2020, Youth for Ocean, dans le cadre de la EU for Ocean Coalition. Eh bien, cette initiative a fleuri et ils étaient à Lisbonne, ces jeunes ambassadeurs de cette initiative, pour parler aux leaders du monde.

Et donc, on le voit, l'Europe donne l'opportunité à ces jeunes de se saisir de la question des océans. Comme 2022 c'est donc une grande année pour l'océan, 2022 c'est l'année européenne de la jeunesse, et je voudrais que cette résolution soit dédiée à ces jeunes. Donnons-leur la clé de nos océans parce que les océans, comme les jeunes, c'est notre avenir, c'est l'avenir de l'Europe.

 
  
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  Caroline Roose (Verts/ALE). – Madame la présidente, les océans sont dans un état d'urgence. Malgré ces mots du Secrétaire général des Nations unies, nous faisons trop peu pour répondre à la crise climatique, à la crise du vivant qui frappe les océans. Pire, une nouvelle menace apparaît, l'exploitation minière des grands fonds marins. L'industrie minière et certains États font pression et souhaitent être les premiers à mettre la main sur des minerais précieux dont regorgent les océans. Pourtant, les scientifiques nous alertent: cette activité entraînera des dommages irréversibles au fonctionnement des écosystèmes marins sur plusieurs générations et aggravera la crise climatique.

La Commission européenne et le Parlement ont pris une position forte contre l'exploitation minière des grands fonds. Un appel à un moratoire a déjà été signé par 250 parlementaires de plus de 50 pays. Les États membres de l'Union européenne doivent se positionner clairement en faveur d'un moratoire sur l'exploitation minière des grands fonds. D'ailleurs, la position du gouvernement français reste ambiguë sur le sujet. Notre responsabilité, c'est de stopper cette course folle pour les océans et pour nos générations futures.

 
  
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  Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). – Señora presidenta, los océanos desempeñan un papel esencial en nuestro bienestar. Amenazas como la contaminación o la pesca ilegal exigen a todos los Estados una acción concertada. Lamento que la última ronda de negociaciones sobre un tratado de protección de la alta mar concluyese sin acuerdo.

El mar es una gran fuente de riqueza y de empleo, como bien sabemos en España y en Galicia, la primera región pesquera de Europa. La gobernanza de los océanos no se entiende sin una gestión sostenible de la pesca, tanto desde el punto de vista medioambiental como desde el económico y social y también de la seguridad alimentaria.

Por eso es tan decepcionante que la Comisión Europea adoptase recientemente un acto de ejecución que prohíbe la pesca de fondo en ochenta y siete áreas del Atlántico, sin consultas ni datos suficientes. Una medida que afecta gravemente a cuatro países, sobre todo a España.

Señora comisaria, rectificar es de sabios. Una vez más, pido a la Comisión Europea que suspenda la aplicación del veto a la pesca de fondo y revise esta apresurada decisión. Hay que contar con los últimos dictámenes científicos y con una evaluación exhaustiva del impacto socioeconómico.

 
  
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  Tiemo Wölken (S&D). – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Diese Entschließung, über die wir abstimmen, ist von zentraler Bedeutung. Alles Leben kommt aus dem Wasser, und trotzdem schützen wir unsere Meere noch immer viel zu wenig.

Wir haben viel zu wenige Schutzgebiete. Die biologische Diversität, die Vielfalt der Meere, sie wird nicht richtig geschützt. Sie ist noch nicht einmal richtig erforscht. Deswegen müssen wir, gerade als Europäische Union, hier eine noch viel stärkere Rolle einnehmen und endlich Schutzgebiete ausweisen und den Lebensraum Meer schützen.

Das gilt im Übrigen auch für die Ökonomie auf dem Wasser. Wir haben eine starke Schifffahrt. Das ist auch notwendig, damit Menschen zusammenkommen, damit Waren verteilt werden können. Aber Schiffe haben eine jahrzehntelange Lebensdauer. Deswegen müssen wir jetzt damit beginnen – und wir können das hier in der nächsten Woche im Plenum in Straßburg machen –, die Kraftstoffe zu dekarbonisieren. Wir müssen dafür sorgen, dass die Schiffe nicht mehr Dreckschleudern sind, sondern dass sie nachhaltig und sauber unterwegs sind. Damit schützen wir unsere Umwelt, und wir schützen damit tatsächlich dann auch das Klima.

Also: Volle Unterstützung für diese Entschließung mit einem klaren Fokus auf mehr Umwelt- und Klimaschutz und vor allen Dingen auf mehr und bessere Schutzgebiete.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (Renew). – Señora presidenta, señora comisaria, comparto la necesidad de reforzar la gobernanza de los océanos y de proteger la diversidad, pero recuerdo, como ha demostrado la política pesquera común, que conseguirlo obliga a implicar a todos los actores implicados.

No ha sido así con la Decisión mediante la quel la Comisión Europea pretende, el próximo 9 de octubre, clausurar 87 zonas de pesca a los buques europeos. Esta Decisión es arbitraria porque no incluye informes de impacto ambiental, social ni económico y porque no se basa en los mejores informes científicos disponibles.

Por eso no la comprende ni la comparte el sector. Por eso animo a que se retire y revise antes de que el 9 de octubre entre en vigor.

Protejamos el mar, pero contando con todos.

La política pesquera común es un ejemplo de cómo hacerlo. El sector pesquero ha vivido un durísimo ajuste socialmente aceptado y asumido desde la plena conciencia de que solo una pesca sostenible y la protección de la biodiversidad garantizan el futuro del sector.

En línea con esa realidad, hay que reconducir el discurso que suele lanzarse contra el sector pesquero europeo, ejemplar en cuanto al respeto de las disposiciones vigentes y que opera en el marco de las normas y medidas de control más exigentes del mundo.

Acusar a profesionales ejemplares de sobrepesca y de otras irregularidades no es cierto, carece de empatía con las personas que trabajan en durísimas condiciones y afecta a la credibilidad de la política pesquera común y de la Unión en su conjunto.

 
  
 

Zgłoszenia z sali

 
  
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  Gabriel Mato (PPE). – Señora presidenta, hablamos de gestionar los océanos del mundo y sus recursos para que sean saludables y productivos en beneficio de las generaciones actuales y futuras. Nada más loable, pero hay que hacerlo de forma equilibrada.

Observamos cómo la acción de la Comisión en este contexto tiene, a veces, efectos perversos e indeseables, tanto para los operadores de la Unión Europea como para el medio ambiente. Estoy pensando en algo que se ha dicho ya: en la reciente decisión de la Comisión de cerrar ochenta y siete áreas en el Atlántico, donde aparentemente existen —o es probable que existan— ecosistemas marinos vulnerables, pero sin tener en cuenta otros aspectos y llevando a la ruina a miles de familias de pescadores y al amarre de importantes segmentos de la flota europea. Y esto no lo podemos aceptar.

Por otra parte, cuanto más estrictas son las medidas que adopta la Unión Europea para la pesca y la acuicultura, más dependemos de productos importados y más se merma nuestra competitividad frente a terceros países con una gestión y gobernanza deficientes. Hagamos posible la sostenibilidad medioambiental, pero también la socioeconómica. Ese es el reto.

 
  
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  Maria da Graça Carvalho (PPE). – Senhora Presidente, Cara Comissária, a vida no nosso planeta começa nos oceanos. É nestes que se encontram ainda as maiores reservas de biodiversidade da Terra. Não teremos sucesso no Pacto Ecológico Europeu, nem na concretização dos Acordos de Paris sem uma estratégia que assegure o futuro dos nossos oceanos.

Cabe-nos encontrar soluções que nos permitam tirar ainda melhor proveito dos benefícios que estes nos oferecem, mas de uma forma sustentável. Se as comunidades que dependem do oceano sentirem as vantagens da sua proteção, os nossos esforços de conservação serão mais eficientes.

Quero, por isso, aplaudir a presente resolução e a abordagem holística e global que propõe, conjugando a proteção e a rentabilização da economia azul. Acrescento que a estratégia para os nossos oceanos deve passar por uma forte aposta na ciência e na investigação científica. Só assim alcançaremos este duplo desígnio: conservar e valorizar.

 
  
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  Sara Cerdas (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, quando discutimos a governança dos oceanos é essencial referirmos as regiões ultraperiféricas. São estas que permitem à União Europeia, no seu conjunto, ter a maior zona marítima do mundo. Portanto, o seu enorme potencial é e deve ser aproveitado ao máximo, seja ao nível da produção das energias renováveis, seja a nível do aproveitamento do potencial de biodiversidade existente nestas regiões, seja na implementação de projetos-piloto, inovadores e sustentáveis, que mudem a forma como a sociedade lida com o meio ambiente.

Não se trata apenas de pedir exceções para ter em conta as suas especificidades, mas também potenciar e fornecer a base regulatória e financeira necessária para que as regiões ultraperiféricas se assumam como líderes da transição climática dentro da própria União Europeia.

 
  
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  Mick Wallace (The Left). – Madam President, it's good that in this resolution we're calling for international measures to end nuclear and military waste in the oceans.

Anywhere you find a foreign military base, you will find high levels of contamination and a marine environment struggling to cope. Look at Guam, look at Hawaii, French Polynesia, the Marshall Islands. The people and the marine ecosystems suffer catastrophically at the hands of the military industrial complex’s total carelessness. We let them treat the oceans as if they were privatized, but they are not – the ocean is a global common good. The USA has conducted more nuclear weapons tests than all other nations combined, responsible for unspeakable levels of radiation in the Pacific.

If we fail to stand up to military contamination, then we may forget about EU efforts for ocean protection. We need denuclearization, demilitarization and peace, and a different approach between humans and the sea.

 
  
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  Clare Daly (The Left). – Madam President, I think it is a good motion on ocean governance and I too am glad to see the reference to military waste and activity, because military activity treating our ocean as a firing range is massively damaging to biodiversity. And just mentioning it isn’t enough: we’re going to have to do a lot more to tackle it. And of course we cannot ignore the methane explosion in the Baltic Sea as a result of the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline. The UN has said this is the biggest single methane release ever recorded.

We know, of course, that methane is 80 times more powerful than CO2 in heating the atmosphere, and methane leaked rather than burned is even worse and will have a massively lasting impact on the climate. The Nord Stream attacks have released 300 000 metric tonnes of methane. This is catastrophic. It is a climate and environmental crime. When we’re looking at protecting the ocean, we need to factor in this sabotage, have it independently investigated and have consequences for the vandals who did it.

 
  
 

(Koniec zgłoszeń z sali)

 
  
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  Adina-Ioana Vălean, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, thank you once again for this important debate and also for helping us to raise public awareness about the importance of the ocean. We face a ‘now or never’ moment when it comes to addressing the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Ambitious outcomes of the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh and the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal are crucial, and the oceans play a key role in both.

Let me say a few words on some of the issues you raised during this debate. We agree that we need to protect the high seas and ensure that future activities in these sensitive areas are solidly based on the science. That’s why the EU is working hard to ensure that a strong and ambitious treaty on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction is agreed. We intend to continue to take a lead role in the negotiations, leading to an ambitious, fair and equitable agreement. We will aim to maintain the political momentum through the High Ambition Coalition on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction.

The Commission also fully agrees that marine minerals in the area cannot be exploited until the effects of deep-sea mining on the marine environment, biodiversity and human activities have been sufficiently researched, the risks are understood, and technologies and operational practices are able to demonstrate that the environment is not seriously harmed, in line with the precautionary approach and the ecosystem-based approach. This has been clearly confirmed in our international ocean governance agenda.

With regard to the implementing act on vulnerable marine ecosystems, resulting in the closure of some areas for bottom fishing, we have always said that once the new scientific advice was available, we would carefully assess it and consider whether a revision of the implementing act was necessary. I understand that this issue is expected to be discussed in the Fisheries Committee on 10 October, where the Commission will have the opportunity to explain its position in more detail.

We are looking forward to the final resolution, which you will adopt later this week, and to working together with you on setting the course for a sustainable blue planet.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: DITA CHARANZOVÁ
Vice-President

President. – Thank you, Commissioner. The debate is closed. The vote will be held on Thursday.

 
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