Government officials, scientists and NGO representatives from eight countries today wound up a three-day "workshop on the ecological approach to the management and protection of the North Sea" in Oslo. The meeting was the latest in a series of attempts to construct a stronger political framework for safeguarding marine habitats and fish stocks in the region, as agreed by a meeting of fisheries and environment ministers under the North Sea Conference framework in Bergen last year. (ENDS Daily 14 March 1997). Jesper Simonsen of the Norwegian environment ministry conceded that "the application of an ecosystem approach to the marine environment and resources is still in its developing stages." But he told delegates that the government was pleased with "progress...under the bilateral EU-Norway fisheries agreement, especially concerning management strategies for important stocks in the North Sea". In advance of a key meeting of the Oslo and Paris Commission (OSPAR) in Lisbon next month, a report on the findings and conclusions of the workshop is to be submitted to the OSPAR secretariat in London, Per Schive of the Norwegian environment ministry told ENDS Daily. "The ecological approach seeks to establish a necessary linkage between fisheries management and environmental management," Mr Schive said. "This is an important new concept which will affect the future work of OSPAR and others in the field of marine protection."
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