Wind standing against the accidental capture of dolphins by fishing boats, twenty NGOs call Brussels to pressure 15 member countries, including France, Spain and the United Kingdom, to act for their protection .
In a letter to the directors of the European Commission's Environment and Fisheries services, 25 NGOs, including France Nature Environnement, ClientEarth and Seas at Risk, call for infringement proceedings against 15 member countries.
“The common dolphin is a species protected by law and the state has committed to significantly reduce strandings on French shores, but the situation is worsening this winter, 1,200 dolphins have been found stranded on the Atlantic coast, a record on the period, “denounced Michel Dubromel, President of France Nature Environment, which deplores in a statement” the lack of reaction of the French government. “
NGOs ask the Commission, guarantor of the application of the European legislation, to open infringement procedures against France, but also Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom for failing to comply with the Habitats Directive.
An assessment of the French Pelagis specialized observatory at the end of April indicated that of the 1,200 cetaceans stranded on the Atlantic coast during the winter, about 85% of the carcasses bore traces of accidental capture.
NGOs are also calling for the Commission to close “at-risk” fisheries in the next winter, from early December to late March 2020, particularly for gill-net and pelagic trawling.
“According to the Habitats Directive, these countries have an obligation to ensure strict protection for cetaceans, that fishing activities do not have a significant impact on their populations, and to ensure and minimize incidental catches”, stresses Tatiana Lujan, a lawyer at ClientEarth.
NGOs are also concerned about the state of the porpoise population in the highly endangered Baltic Sea. Experts have listed less than 250.
They therefore call on the Commission to take “emergency measures” in the Baltic Sea, including the closure of fisheries in marine protected areas.