Advancing marine biodiversity protection through regional fisheries management: A review of bottom fisheries closures in areas beyond national jurisdiction


Fishing is a significant threat to marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Bottom fishing in particular can impact deep-sea ecosystems, and the UN General Assembly has called on regional fisheries management organisations and arrangements (RFMO/As) to take actions to regulate bottom fisheries, including to close areas to bottom fishing activities where there is likely to be significant adverse impacts to vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). This paper provides an update on the current status of closures, suggesting that RFMO/A biodiversity conservation efforts continue to advance slowly. RFMO/As have been slow to implement additional closures and to act in a precautionary manner based on available scientific evidence. Existing powers are not being fully utilised and best practice is not always followed. Closures have often been temporary or representative, or have not in fact restricted ongoing fishing activity. Some positive outcomes provide examples of good practice, though RFMO/As will need to fully utilise their powers and follow best practice before authorising bottom fishing to proceed in ABNJ.

Marine Policy