Europe is failing to protect its oceans, despite having policies in place to safeguard its marine environment, according to a report published by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on Nov. 26. The ECA, an independent institution within the European Union (EU), looked at marine protection efforts between 2018 and 2020 to see if existing policies within the EU framework were addressing key pressures on marine biodiversity and habitats. What the report ultimately found was that the EU had not taken sufficient action to restore its ailing seas, or to keep fishing at sustainable levels, especially in the Mediterranean. Salema (Sarpa salpa) off the coast of Benidorm, Spain, in the Mediterranean. Image by Alfonso González / Flickr. “It’s pretty grim,” a member of the audit team told Mongabay in an interview. “Europe does have a framework in place, but what is there isn’t working.” There is an intricate web of rules, laws and directives to manage the EU’s marine environment, including the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), designed to regulate fishing fleets and conserve fish stocks; the Birds and Habitats Directives (BHDs), which aim to protect threatened species and habitats through a network of protected areas; and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) that provides an overarching marine policy meant to integrate fishing and environmental regulations. While these policies appear adequate, they’re not being put into practice, according to the report. “It all looks great on paper,” the auditor said. “It all looks very sensible, but the reality is that when…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer