Iceland accused of blocking trawling ban Skip to content

Iceland accused of blocking trawling ban

United Nations negotiations on fisheries ended on Friday in Washington D.C. without a ban on the environmentally controversial commercial fishing practice of bottom-trawling. Environmentalist groups have since accused Iceland of blocking the ban.

Bottom-trawling is widely seen as a destructive fishing practice, as it drags heavy nets and crushing rollers on the sea floor, destroying coral reefs and fish nurseries in the process. BBC reports.

Eleven nations employ bottom-trawling fleets, including Iceland. Spain has the largest fleet. For three years, conservation groups have been pushing for a global ban on bottom-trawling without result.

Greenpeace oceans policy advisor Karen Sack told the BBC that the international community should be outraged that “Iceland could almost single-handedly sink deep-sea protection and the food security of future generations.”

Iceland’s Foreign Ministry issued a press release Friday, stating that the government agrees measures have to be taken to protect biodiversity and ecosystems in the ocean, but does not believe that banning trawling is the way to go.

The Foreign Ministry stated that the world’s main fishing nations, such as Canada, Japan, Russia and many EU countries, did not support a trawling ban either.

An international team of scientists warned last month that with no measures taken to protect the biosphere of the sea, populations of fish would disappear in the next half century.

According to the BBC, negotiators at the UN on Friday could only agree on a limited set of precautionary measures to protect fish populations from going extinct.

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