A head of the final week of official negotiations between the EU Parliament, The Commission and The Council of the EU, sharp suited EU decision makers were feasting on a dying Merperson.

The gruesome scene illustrates how EU decision makers are unwilling to protect the Ocean by supporting a strong Nature Restoration Law (NRL). Instead they are supporting commercial interests, including industrial fishing. A choice which will destroy marine habitats throughout the EU, the magic of the Ocean will be devoured by greed.

The EU seems to feel no shame as their representative rips out the guts of the Merperson. As they eat they rudely sing about how the EU’s continued support of industrial fishing, the profit it will make, helps oil the wheels of business as usual. They seem blissfully unaware that overfishing marine life, destroying marine habitats, will destroy all life on this planet. The EU Nature Restoration Law is the last chance to stop this madness, to reduce the Europe-wide biodiversity crisis and to prevent a catastrophic collapse in nature.

The fate of the Ocean depends on us all.
Our interventions depend on your support.

Our lives depend on the Ocean. Ocean biodiversity produces half our oxygen and by sequestering greenhouse gas emissions. It helps protect us from the climate crisis. But the Ocean is dying. 

as the sea dies we die

The NRL is the EU’s legacy moment to reverse biodiversity loss. Tabled in June last year by the European Commission, for the first time it introduces legally-binding targets to restore degraded ecosystems and reverse biodiversity loss. The new law sets a target to all Member States to restore 20% of the EU’s land and seas by 2030.

Unfortunately, the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) became a casualty of an internal power struggle within the European People’s Party (EPP). This problematic political climate resulted in a NRL that has been severely weakened in its way through the EU legislative process.

This Law is crucial to address a myriad of problems, spanning from addressing the decline of pollinators, the planting of 10 billion trees, to restoring our long suffering marine ecosystems. 

Special relevance for marine ecosystems
Our marine environment is consistently cast aside, overlooked and generally neglected. There is a war on fish – fish are described as stocks, a protein source for human exploitation. Their importance to the health of the Ocean is completely ignored. And we see the Ocean as so far from our daily lives that it has not been as protected as land ecosystems and, when it has been protected, it has been protected in the form of paper parks (protected areas lacking any effective management or policing).

Current EU environmental policies have not helped to protect the Ocean, but a strong NRL can help. A strong NRL is the first step to a better relationship between humans and the natural systems we are a part of. The NRL will bring us closer to the Ocean, an Ocean which gives us every second breath we take. 

Where are we at? 
We are at the final stages of Trilogues negotiations. The text will be decided in the month of November, so now is the time to make as much noise as we can, and to make sure the Ocean is not forgotten in the NRL text. The NRL has received widespread opposition after the Fake News campaign spearheaded by politically-motivated members of the EPP. Join us and show your support for this decisive Law and help nudge MEPs in the right direction

As things stand, the conservation measures contained in the NRL can be blocked by Member States who want to continue industrial fishing and the war on fish. This is because the NRL still uses the dysfunctional legal process contained within the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). If this happens the NRL is not a law, instead it becomes the Nature Restoration Fishing Option – opt in or out, it’s your choice. And we know where that will lead – EU governments will opt out, preferring the easy common fishery policy short term greed over the harder decisions required to save life in the Ocean and protect the jobs of coastal communities for the long term.

stop industrial fishing empower coastal care

Ocean Rebellion demands the EU Parliament Plenary and European Council support the NATURE RESTORATION LAW in full, including the proposal to make Member States legally responsible for restoring nature, giving EU citizens the right to sue Member States for failing to comply. 

We also demand the final text includes fishing as a key contributor to ocean degradation within the NRL, highlighting this inclusion by banning bottom trawling in all EU waters, and makes a commitment to reduce fishing by 80%, achieved by ending industrial fishing and empowering coastal communities by promoting low-impact, labour intensive traditional fishing and incentivised Ocean care.

Photos by Guy Reece.

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