The European Commission has today announced it wants to prohibit the use of any kind of driftnets for fishing in all EU waters as of 1 January 2015. The Black Fish would fully support such a ban, however concerns remain about the effectiveness of control and enforcement.
Although rules are already in place to forbid using driftnets to catch certain migratory species, the practice 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. In the Mediterranean alone, an estimated 500 vessels continue to use the nets.
Wietse van der Werf, International Director of The Black Fish: The proposed ban could mean a major step forward towards ending the use of destructive driftnets in European seas. A full ban would leave no doubt as to what is allowed or not. However, concerns remain about its effectiveness when general enforcement efforts aren’t stepped up in practice. Changes need to be meaningful and effective and The Black Fish will continue to monitor the progress on this issue critically.