Under the sea: Marine biodiversity and habitat loss is an ongoing challenge for Europe’s seas. EU actions have not restored its waters to good environmental status nor fishing to sustainable levels in all seas. What more can the EU do to protect marine life in EU waters?

Submitted by: Isthea Amoilafoa (NL), Jean-Paul Steinbusch (NL), Jet van der Wilden (NL), Larissa Peters (NL), Peter Schalke (NL), Alice Comoglio (Chairperson, IT)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Taking into account that there are now around 5.25 trillion macro- and microplastics in the ocean which are having a detrimental effect on EU marine populations,
  2. Noting with concern that there are still 3,000 bilge water dumpings a year occurring in Europe’s waters,
  3. Conscious of the destruction of European coral reefs due to various pollutants entering the water,
  4. Acknowledging the existence of aquaculture such as fishing farms, due to the excessive demand for seafood,
  5. Pointing out the existence of projects and laws like Natura 2030, the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, and the Nature Restoration Law that strive for the conservation and restoration of marine habitats,
  6. Profoundly concerned that there are fishing practices such as bottom trawling that result in a substantial amount of bycatch and the destruction of large swaths of marine habitats;
  7. Appreciating the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs);
  1. Instructs all Member States to limit the use and dumping of plastic products by:
    1. introducing returnable deposits on recyclable plastic items which can be collected at supermarkets or other collection centres,
    2. increasing fines for illegally dumping plastic,
    3. including the clean-up of plastic waste dumped in cities and nature in court-ordered community service;
  2. Calls upon the European Commission to subsidise companies which:
  3. have found technological solutions to clean up the oceans from macro- and microplastics, such as The Ocean Cleanup,
    1. study new plastic materials and their recyclability,
    2. research clean-up methods for oil spills;
  4. Requests Member States to take action against companies which make use of the environmentally harmful practice of bilge-dumping by:
    1. collecting evidence in cooperation with companies such as Skytruth,
    2. prosecuting companies guilty of bilge dumping;
  5. Demands all Member States to follow the guidelines of agreements such as Natura 2030, EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, Nature Restoration Law, and the 14th Sustainable Development Goal;
  6. Encourages the European Commission to prohibit the use of environmentally harmful fishing techniques such as bottom trawling by 2030;
  7. Invites the European Commission to transition to the acquisition of seafood in fishing farms, cellular-pisciculture, and plant-based seafood;
  8. Urges all Member States to improve the state of marine life in EU waters by creating more MPAs in threatened areas to let marine organisms recover by having an expert team define the areas in need of being protected;
  9. Further urges Member States to limit or ban recreational activity in all MPAs;
  10. Asks the Member States to help people who are directly disadvantaged by the newly created MPAs through:
    1. providing financial assistance,
    2. offering retraining courses.