Opportunity lost in EU Ministers bycatch vote

On Tuesday there was an important vote in the European Parliament Fisheries Committee about fisheries conservation measures including future bycatch measures for dolphins, porpoises and whales. Here is a summary of what happened in the vote on bycatch

The existing (inadequate) rules for monitoring and mitigating dolphin and porpoise bycatch remain intact for now and most importantly, efforts by some MEPs to remove existing bycatch measures in the Baltic Sea and South Western Waters (off Spain and Portugal) were rejected. Both of these regions contain genetically distinct and declining populations of harbour porpoises, due to being incidentally caught in fishing gear, so they need all the protection that they can get. Both porpoise populations are in a perilous state and are in desperate need of better protection from fishing nets, so fending off efforts to remove existing, wholly inadequate protection seem to me like a very hollow victory. 

Porpoise in fishing net
Porpoise protection from bycatch is inadequate

Bycatch measures that the Commission proposed for the >12 metre fishing vessels deploying static fishing gear in the Mediterranean and Black Sea to use acoustic deterrent devices to scare marine mammals away from nets also remain intact.

However, this was a real lost opportunity for the EU Fisheries Ministers to improve the existing bycatch measures and to expand the measures to include other protected species that die in large numbers in some European fisheries, such as seals and seabirds. Further, efforts to consider the welfare implications of bycatch were rejected. The requirement under the EU Habitats Directive is to offer dolphins, porpoises and whales “strict protection” and yet, existing bycatch laws are certainly not protecting them adequately. 

There was a general and serious weakening of language throughout the file for all fisheries measures, and a very disappointing move away from science and conservation. Here’s what our colleagues at Seas at RiskClientEarth and Bird Life had to say about the proposed new rules.

In a lucky twist, at the end of the session, the Fisheries Committee surprisingly voted for the adopted report to be presented to European Parliament Plenary for a vote, so we very much welcome this additional level of transparency and a further opportunity for engagement. The outcome of the Plenary vote will then form the basis of future trilogue negotiations.

Overall, this was a dark day for Europe’s marine environment. I hope some improvements can be made at Plenary because too many species needlessly die in fishing gear every year.

Please support our work to end the needless deaths of whales and dolphins in fishing gear and nets. 


It is about time fishing gear i.e. Nets were monitored for its safety purposes due to the rapid decline in marine life and vegetation. Fish is declining quickly as is the rest of the marine life so another reason to monitor and stop this destruction now


EU needs to implement protection to the best of its ability. Far too many species are being killed by these nets. Action needs taken to stoo this.

The fishing industry needs to start thinking about the damage it is doing to our seas
and add an ethical dimension to it's policies.

With today's technology I don't see why it is necessary to use any excuse for not helping to save marine life. The only answer is money over care. Heavy fines and prosecution of companies should follow the offenders.Hit them where it hurts, in their wallets!

Just stop..... Hurting and killing animals that wouldn't hurt you. We should be so proud that we recognise these wonderful animals and do all to protect them.
I'm glad I'm 74 I'll die before I see the end of all that is good in our seas all because of greed.

The story of the past fifty years is of mankind the greatest predator on our Planet has selfishly given over to the needs of their stomach so they can increase the size of our population, so at the same time increased the population which in turn has increased the pollution, thus we have global warming. Now the oceans are full of rubbish including plastic. Now we have overfishing and in a few years, for example, the Indian Ocean will be devoid fish and of course their predators.

Let's face it most of them are only interested in the Now and How much money they can get via kick-backs etc. Most politicians are still men, who are in their left-brain and disconnected to their hearts, that's why they suffer from so many heart diseases. BASTARDS ALL

As usual, business and profits before the welfare of animals, their habitat and the environment! . . . SHAME on EU members and their immoral and irresponsible disregard for the welfare of animals, their habitat and the environment! . . . The arrogance of politicians and their disregard for animals, other creatures, their habitat and the environment is sickening! . . . Animals deserve compassion and respect, they were here long before humans evolved on earth and they are important to the ecosystem. Carry on the way we are and there won’t be a future for the human species! . . . Furthermore, we do not need to consume/wear any products sourced from animals and other creatures to survive . . . We need a healthy environment to survive! . . . In today's world we now have a vast choice of food and materials so it is not necessary for humans to consume or wear any products from animals or any other living creatures, people only do so for 'pleasure' and 'vanity', unlike caveman who hunted for 'survival' as do wild animals . . . If there were no animals humans would survive on a vegan diet! . . . Wild animals NEED to hunt for survival and maintain their existence and are important for a balanced environment by maintaining biodiversity! . . . Animals, sea creatures, the oceans, forests and environment are all suffering and dying purely for the sake of human arrogance, taste-buds, business and profit. Human arrogance and lifestyle is destroying animals, their habitat, the oceans, forests and the environment which in turn will eventually lead to the demise of the human species! . . . Politicians are to blame with the immoral actions they condone; always putting business and profits first regardless of the short and long term detrimental effects to the welfare of animals, their habitat, the environment and the earth we live on. Nothing will change until we have politicians who genuinely care about the environment, welfare of animals, their habitat and above all listen to the people who elected them . . . The long term welfare of animals, their habitat and the environment are far more important and precious than a few moments of pleasure to the taste-buds. No good is coming from such industries only of course to those that profit from them. We are all a part of nature so by destroying animals, their habitat, and raping and trashing the earth we live on we are inevitably destroying ourselves. Any decent responsible government with an ounce of morals between them would acknowledge this and act responsibly and do all they can to protect them. . . NOT condone the destruction of them for the sake of human arrogance, business and profit. It is perfectly clear to see by the immoral actions they condone that many politicians only enter into politics for the sake of their own personal agenda, ego trip and status, they have little respect for the people they are supposed to represent, so it is not surprising when they have no compassion or respect for animals, their habitat and the environment, all they care about is their own selfish financial gain, living their privileged lifestyles and trying to look good about themselves helping big businesses and their profits and immorally they will let anything pass for business even when it involves the destruction of animals, their habitat and the environment. Politicians come and go and most are forgotten about once they leave office with their big pensions and many are only in office for a short time but the damage they cause by the immoral actions they condone is often permanent. The ‘short’ and ‘long’ term welfare of animals, their habitat, the environment and therefore humans are being put at risk because of the immoral and often barbaric actions condoned by politicians. Eventually future governments will be forced to acknowledge the detrimental effects of the immoral, irresponsible and barbaric actions condoned by today’s governments and politicians and mankind’s arrogance, disregard and destruction of animals and the environment. By then though it will be too late, the damage will be done because many of today’s governments and politicians clearly do not care about the immoral, irresponsible and often barbaric actions they condone and what the ‘short’ or ‘long’ term detrimental consequences they will have on animals, the environment, humans and therefore their grandchildren and future grandchildren because by then such politicians probably won’t be here to suffer themselves or be accountable to any future governments. Sadly, we will all suffer the consequences and pay the ultimate price and all for the sake of those who are allowed to keep getting away with putting their selfish greed, arrogance, barbarism, destruction and 'short term' financial gain before compassion, respect and the 'long term' welfare of others, animals, their habitat, forests, trees, parks, oceans, nature etc. and the earth we live on! . . . Governments worldwide should be legislating, toughening and ENFORCING laws to protect the welfare of ALL species of animals, tame and wild, protecting their habitat and the environment and educating people about compassion and respect to all 'living beings' and as to why animals are an important part of keeping environments balanced by maintaining biodiversity that contribute to a healthy ecosystem . . . NOT condoning and encouraging barbarism and the exploitation, suffering, harming and murder of them and destruction of their habitat and the environment for the sake of human arrogance, so-called beliefs, business and profit etc. . . . Humankind may achieve many things but the biggest achievement of all (and not an achievement to be proud of) will be that of the destruction of the earth and all forms of life on it . . . For the welfare of all species of animals, their habitat, the oceans, forests, environment and human health, governments worldwide should be encouraging, promoting and supporting a vegan lifestyle . . . http://www.govegan.org.uk/why-vegan/