High opening trawls and their impacts on the living marine resources of the seas and oceans.


at the Co ordination Committee meeting of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples in Martinique. 
The WFFP CC unanimously passed the Resolution and presented the same to the UN by N.D.Koli , our representative

High opening trawls and their impacts on the living marine resources of the seas and oceans.

The General Assembly,

Noting that the technological developments of the last three decades enable trawlers – whatever their size – to draw trawls, which opening largely exceeds the length of the boat, 

Observing that many countries have developed trawler fleets, which can use high opening trawls, leading to a considerable fishing effort, 

Noting that fishing with high opening trawls can be practised in high sea as well as in near-shore area, 

Recognising that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of the 10^th of December 1982 stipulates that it is the states’ duty to protect and preserve the marine environment and that problems of the marine grounds are closely interconnected and must be taken into account as a whole, 

Recalling that this very Convention sets as fundamental aim that the states must promote (whether directly or through relevant international organisations) the development of appropriate marine technologies, 

Recalling that according to the FAO’s Code of Conduct for a responsible fishing, the fishing right implies the obligation to practise a responsible fishing in order to ensure efficiently the preservation and management of the living aquatic resources, 

Recalling that as regard trawling, the fishing gear been drawn, one must think in terms of dynamics and not in terms of statics and the cod end meshes are stretched by the tractive effort and therefore become narrower, 

Considering that as regard trawling, the regulation on the size of cod end meshes is not enough to ensure a responsible fishing, 

Recalling that the use of some high opening trawls lead to the capture of protected species such as cetaceans, which makes even more serious the lack of selectivity of these trawls, 

Recognising that more than thousands of trawlers already use frequently high opening trawls in the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean and in other seas of the world, 

Considering that in areas where the fishing stocks are at normal levels, trawlers can fish enough to be profitable while drawing moderate opening trawls, 

Considering that – as opposed to the previous paragraph – using high opening trawls in fishing areas already affected by a reduction of the existing fishing resources presents an obvious risk of worsening the plunder of these resources, 

Recognising the need to limit the trawlers’ fishing effort by determining a simple standard that enables however big-sized boats to produce more important fishing efforts than the ones of smaller boats: 


Appeals to all members of the international community and particularly to those who have interests in fishing to limit the opening of trawls, 


Appeals to the countries already using high opening trawls to reduce from now on and progressively the number of boats using that kind of trawls, 


Asks for a moratorium on high opening trawls on the 1^st January 2005; after this date trawls with an opening inferior to half of the overall length of the boat (whether the trawl is drawn by one or two boats) will be the only one authorised, 


Asks the specialised scientific bodies, in the FAO as well as in the regional and subregional fishing organisations, to compare the situations of the fishery resources and the marine ecosystems before and after the implementation of the moratorium on high opening trawls.