Marine conservation

Fishing and environmental protection influence one another. The fishing industry is dependent on an intact natural environment but it also impacts on the maritime environment itself. The industry can only have a stable future if fishing is conducted in a sustainable manner, i.e. in harmony with nature and with future generations in mind.

One primary objective of the international community's environmental and development policy is the protection of the oceans, seas and coastal areas: This includes the protection, rational use and development of their living resources. This is stated in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 - the action plan of the UN Conference on Environment and Development that was published in June 1992 (Rio Conference).

Alongside the politically-oriented AGENDA 21, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides the international legal basis for provisions implementing these policy objectives. The Federal Republic of Germany is politically committed to the protection of the oceans and has ratified UNCLOS.

At the global level, the following institutions deal with the condition of the oceans, their resources and the human factors influencing them:

  • the United Nations within the framework of the United Nations Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (UNICPOLOS) and, based on this, the UN General Secretary's maritime law report (fisheries and omnibus resolutions)
  • the United Nation's International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
  • the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • the United Nation's World Food Organisation (FAO)

Protecting the marine environment

Close up of a reef

On the basis of international marine protection agreements, the BMEL is involved in improving the state of the North and Baltic Seas as well as the North Atlantic. This involves following through on national and international commitments.

more: Protecting the marine environment …

Germany's Proposal for a Marine Protected Area in Antarctica

The Arctic Ocean with snow-covered mountains in the background

The Federal Government explicitly commits to expanding the marine protected areas in Antarctica and submitted a request for a marine protected area (MPA) in the Wedell Sea to the international Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in October 2016.

more: Germany's Proposal for a Marine Protected Area in Antarctica …

Whale conservation


The Federal Government of Germany is resolutely opposed to commercial whaling. This also applies to scientific whaling.

more: Whale conservation …


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