Oceana commends the Moroccan government for approving a law that establishes a series of sanctions and compensations within the plan to eliminate the use of driftnets in their waters, and which will culminate in the complete prohibition of this fishing gear at the start of 2009.
The EU has agreed a new Regulation which introduces a driftnet definition into EU law. The Regulation’s main effect should be to finally halt the use of illegal French driftnets, often called thonaille, which are used in the Mediterranean despite being banned since 2002.
During May this year, Oceana documented the use of driftnets in the Tyrrhenian Sea in order to verify the effectiveness of the new “zero tolerance” policy of the Italian Minister of Fisheries, Paolo De Castro.
Oceana calls for urgent measures to be taken to halt this illegal and highly damaging fishing method and welcomes the intervention by the UK Fisheries Minister urging his European colleagues to take action.
Oceana has been identifying and documenting the illegal activities of 71 Italian and 37 French driftnetters for two years. In a recent report, the European Commission acknowledged the existence of these vessels and linked them to deficient control measures within the fishing sector.
The definition of a driftnet, to be included in a new Regulation approved by the European Parliament yesterday during a plenary session, will stipulate that the addition of a floating anchor to one end of net does not make this gear legal; driftnets are banned by the European Union and the United Nations.