PostHeaderIcon The Governments of the UNEP/CMS/ACCOBAMS ban the use of driftnets!

Driftnets are nets that are held on or just below the surface of the water thanks to floats. Their height varies according to the fishery concerned but, in the case of large nets, is generally comprised between 20 to 30 metres. They are weighted at the bottom so that the tension created between the floats and the weights holds the net vertically in the sea. Nets can drift on their own or, more frequently, with the vessel to which one end is tied.

After years of discussions, the European Union decided in April 1997 to establish technical conservation measures in order to regulate the fishing industry using driftnets. The EU Council of Ministers, with the backing of the European Parliament, decided to impose a maximum limit of 2.5km on driftnets used by EU vessels. 

Unfortunately, the lack of respect regarding the regulations, by some, causes each year the death of hundreds of dolphins –and other endangered species- because driftnets are made of synthetic fabric which make them almost invisible for their sonar. In the Mediterranean, it is estimated that driftnets are responsible for the death of 10,000 cetaceans each year, and are the primary cause of death for sperm whales.

During their last meeting (October 2007), the Governments of the Contracting Parties to the UNEP/CMS/ACCOBAMS - Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area – have adopted an Amendment to the Agreement Text (signed in 1996) regarding the use of driftnets. This Amendment entered into force for all Contracting Parties on the 22nd March 2008. It states that “no vessels will be authorized to keep on board or to use any drift nets.”

Recording that the UNEP/CMS/ACCOBAMS is an Intergovernmental Agreement, as of date between 21 Countries, we can sincerely hope that this new conservation measure will help the conservation of marine mammals living within the Agreement Area.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 18 August 2009 14:34)

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