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News :: European Commission proposes total driftnets fishing ban

European Commission proposes total driftnets fishing ban

(22/05/2014) The European Commission wants to ban the use of any kind of driftnets for fishing in all EU waters as of 1 January 2015. By operating close to or at the water surface, fishing with driftnets continues to be a cause of concern due to the incidental catching of marine mammals, sea turtles and sea birds which are mostly protected under EU legislation.

The proposal is in line with the new Common Fisheries Policy's goal to minimise the impact of fishing activities on the marine ecosystems and to reduce unwanted catches as much as possible. Under the proposed ban all small-scale driftnets irrespective of their length and targeted species will be banned, as is already the case for the Baltic Sea. The proposal is in line with the new Common Fisheries Policy's goal to minimise the impact of fishing activities on the marine ecosystems and to reduce unwanted catches as much as possible.

The current EU legislative framework has shown weaknesses and loopholes and the small-scale nature of the fishing vessels involved and the fact they do not operate together in the same areas has made it easier to escape monitoring, control and proper enforcement. Illegal driftnet activities carried out by Union fishing vessels continue to be reported and have been cause of criticism regarding the Union compliance with applicable international obligations.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said:" Fishing with drift-nets is highly destructive. We cannot sit idly while it ruins marine habitats, endangers marine wildlife and threatens sustainable fisheries, and puts the livelihoods of fishermen across Europe at risk. This ban reinforces the new CFP's commitment to sustainable fishing and sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate any irresponsible practices."

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