In the Celtic Sea, south west of Britain, some 2,200 porpoises a year have been estimated to be killed in bottom-set gillnets.
That is about 6% of the population a level that cannot possibly be sustained. Bottom-set gillnets in the North Sea are also
catching huge and unsustainable numbers of porpoises.
Pelagic (mid-water) trawlers, operating to the south and west of Britain and France are catching unacceptable numbers of
dolphins. While these fisheries are yet to be properly monitored, hundreds of dead dolphins wash up on English and French beaches each year, often mutilated in an attempt to hide the evidence. These bodies suggest a total toll of thousands of
The UK and other national governments and the European Commission have a responsibility and a legal requirement
under EU law to monitor and address this problem but to date they have failed to do so. The current review of the
Common Fisheries Policy provides the opportunity to get this issue formally dealt with throughout Europe.
Please write to the UK Government and the European Commission, (contact details below) asking both to introduce -
- immediate measures to prevent known bycatch problems such as in the Celtic Sea and North Sea gill net fisheries and
in pelagic trawl fisheries in the Western Approaches.
- compulsory monitoring of cetacean bycatch, using independent observers, in all fisheries with the potential to catch
- a formal bycatch response process for each identified bycatch problem, involving fishermen and other stakeholders,
to plan and implement management measures to achieve set bycatch reduction targets.
- closure of fisheries where bycatch reduction targets are not met.
- the institutional and policy changes necessary to achieve effective monitoring and mitigation of cetacean bycatch through
the current review of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.
Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley
Minister for Fisheries
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR
Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler
European Fisheries Commissioner
Rue de la Loi 200
For printable petition please click here