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The Northwest Hawaiian Ridge and Emperor Seamount Chain is a unique hotspot of biodiversity in the deep sea. Since environmental impact assessments (EIAs) into the impacts of bottom contact fishing in the area were conducted in 2008, scientific knowledge of its rich biological diversity has significantly advanced. There is evidence of the likely presence of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) where bottom fishing is permitted to take place and damage to these ecosystems including significant adverse impacts (SAIs) to VMEs caused by bottom contact fishing. Moreover, there is evidence of recovery or regeneration of deep-sea corals in areas where bottom fishing has previously taken place but which have been closed to bottom fishing.

In addition, the UN General Assembly in 2022 strengthened the call to action to protect deep-sea biodiversity and committed NPFC members to assess and prevent the adverse impacts of fishing on all species associated with coldwater coral, sponge and other deep-sea habitats.

In light of new scientific knowledge and political commitments, the DSCC urges Parties to the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC) to:

  • Recognize the need to conduct new EIAs into the impacts of bottom fisheries on the Northwest Hawaiian Ridge and Emperor Seamount Chain.
  • Close the Northwest Hawaiian Ridge and the Emperor Seamount Chain to bottom impact fishing while these EIAs are completed.
  • Establish measures to allow for the recovery of ecosystems already damaged from fishing.

Read the full position paper: Available in English