Regulation 2008/734 - Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears

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Current status

This regulation has been published on July 30, 2008 and entered into force on July 31, 2008.


Key information

official title

Council Regulation (EC) No 734/2008 of 15 July 2008 on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears
Legal instrument Regulation
Number legal act Regulation 2008/734
Original proposal COM(2007)605 EN
CELEX number i 32008R0734


Key dates

Document 15-07-2008
Publication in Official Journal 30-07-2008; OJ L 201, 30.7.2008,Special edition in Croatian: Chapter 04 Volume 003
Effect 31-07-2008; Entry into force Date pub. + 1 See Art 14
End of validity 31-12-9999


Legislative text



Official Journal of the European Union

L 201/8



of 15 July 2008

on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears


Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 37 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (1),




The Community is a Contracting Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and to the Agreement on the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. These international instruments lay down the duty of States to cooperate on conserving the living resources of the high seas, and prescribe that such cooperation shall be pursued directly by States or through appropriate subregional or regional fisheries management organisations or arrangements.



The absence of a regional fisheries management organisation or arrangement does not exempt States from their obligation under the law of the Sea to adopt with respect to their nationals such measures as may be necessary for the conservation of the living resources of the high seas, including the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems against the harmful effects of fishing activities.



Article 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the common fisheries policy (2) provides that the common fisheries policy is to apply the precautionary approach in taking measures to minimise the impact of fishing activities on marine ecosystems. Article 7 of the same Regulation provides that the Commission may decide on emergency measures at the substantiated request of a Member State or on its own initiative if there is evidence of a serious threat to the conservation of living aquatic resources, or to the marine ecosystem resulting from fishing activities and requiring immediate action.



The Community is committed to the conservation of marine ecosystems such as reefs, seamounts, deep water corals, hydrothermal vents and sponge beds. There is abundant scientific information showing that the integrity of these ecosystems is threatened by fishing activities using bottom gears. The Community has already adopted measures to close to bottom fishing areas within Community waters where such ecosystems are found. It has also been instrumental in the adoption of similar measures in the high seas within the areas of competence of all existing regional fisheries management organisations empowered to regulate bottom fisheries. It has also actively contributed to the establishment of new organisations or arrangements with a view to achieving global coverage of the world’s ocean by appropriate regional fisheries conservation and management regimes. There are, however, certain areas of the high seas for which the establishment of such a body encounters significant difficulties.



By Resolution 61/105 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, adopted on 8 December 2006, the international community has agreed on the pressing need to adopt measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from the destructive effects of bottom fishing activities through strict regulation of those activities by regional fisheries management organisations or arrangements or by States in respect of their flagged vessels operating in areas where no such organisations or arrangements are in place.

The General Assembly has provided guidance as to the kind of measures that should be adopted to this end....


This text has been adopted from EUR-Lex.


Original proposal



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