The Commission is closing “87 sensitive zones” off the coasts of France, Portugal, Spain and Ireland for bottom fishing gear activities such as trawls, gillnets and bottom longlines. In total, an area of ​​16,400 square kilometers between 400 and 800 meters depth is protected. Vulnerable ecosystems such as cold-water coral reefs and deep-sea hills should benefit.

    “By closing 17 percent of the areas between 400 and 800 meters in European waters in the Northeast Atlantic to bottom fishing gears, we are fulfilling our commitment to protect and restore marine life,” said Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius on. Bottom fishing deeper than 800 meters has been banned for some time.

    The new measure, an implementing decision under a 2016 regulation on deep-sea fishing, is the result of two years of consultations with Member States, the fishing industry and non-governmental organisations. The ban will take effect 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.