Action Plan to save sea birds

Today the European Commission adopted an Action Plan to address the problem of incidental catches of seabirds in fishing gears.

Scientific evidence has shown that high numbers of seabird species including albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, auks, sea ducks and divers are being caught in fishing gear every year. Measures taken so far have been ineffective. The new Action Plan sets up a management framework to minimise seabird bycatch to the lowest levels practically possible.

Commissioner Damanaki commented on the Action Plan:

"We see today's Action Plan as a platform for giving a clear and comprehensive picture of the current situation and progress needed in order to achieve coherent and effective management to minimise seabird bycatch."

The plan is drawn up in accordance with the objectives and principles of the on-going Common Fisheries Policy reform: it promotes ecosystem management, ie covering all components of the ecosystem. It also puts forward a "bottom-up", regionalised approach whereby more responsibility is given to Member States and stakeholders to implement appropriate measures to tackle fisheries problems.

The plan's 30 recommended actions are a combination of binding and non-binding measures. Specific short-term actions include:

• more rapid implementation of fisheries management measures to protect seabirds within Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated under the Birds Directive;

• undertaking more extensive monitoring of fisheries where information on seabird bycatch is lacking or uncertain;

• implementing proven mitigation measures (such as the use of bird-scaring lines and acoustic deterrents or the use of weighted lines) in long line fisheries in EU and non-EU waters where bycatch is highest;

• and instigating research into the development of practical and efficient mitigation measures particularly in static net fisheries.

The full list of actions proposed can be found here

Last update: 17/04/2013 |  Top