Friday, 24 September 2010

Europe seeks to protect mid-Atlantic high seas

(Reuters) - European nations agreed on Friday to set up fishing-free zones in remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean in the world's first high seas network of protected areas beyond the control of national governments.

Environment ministers from 15 European states, forming the OSPAR group overseeing the North-East Atlantic, said they would seek recognition of the six areas at the United Nations and from the United States and Canada on the other side of the ocean.

"This is a historic step," Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim told Reuters after the September 23-24 talks in Bergen, West Norway. "We will try to inspire other nations to do the same, like in the Indian ocean, the Pacific and other oceans."

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