The Beacon

Morocco Bans Driftnets

© Oceana/Carlos Suarez

Great news in the battle against illegal fishing: Morocco has passed an amendment banning the use, possession, manufacture or sale of driftnets.

Known as “curtains of death,” driftnets are a type of illegal fishing gear that can be nearly 100 feet high and 12 miles long. Because they are so passive and indiscriminate, driftnets snag whatever’s in their path, including many marine mammals and other endangered species.

The UN passed an international moratorium on driftnets 15 years ago, and the EU instituted a ban seven years ago, but many French, Italian and Moroccan vessels have continued using them.

The penalty for breaking Morocco’s new law ranges from three months to one year in prison and fines between approximately $550 and $110,000.

Oceana will, of course, continue to keep an eye on the use of driftnets throughout the Mediterranean, but this is certainly a huge step forward.


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