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Fisheries: EU proposes action plan to protect seabirds

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Friday, 16 November 2012

Fisheries: EU proposes action plan to protect seabirds

The European Commission adopted on Friday 16 November an Action Plan to address the problem of incidental catches of seabirds in fishing gears.
The new Plan sets up focuses on long line and static net fisheries where seabird bycatch are known to be highest, although other gears such as trawls and purse seines are also covered by the plan. It entails a wide range of elements under 30 recommended actions that are a combination of binding and non-binding measures. The rules will apply to EU fishing vessels inside and outside EU waters as well as non-EU vessels operating in EU waters.Specific short-term actions include: more rapid implementation of fisheries management measures to protect seabirds within Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated under the Birds Directive;  undertaking more extensive monitoring of fisheries where information on seabird bycatch is lacking or uncertain;  implementing proven mitigation measures (such as the use of bird-scaring lines and acoustic deterrents or the use of weighted lines) in long line fisheries in EU and non-EU waters where bycatch is highest; and instigating research into the development of practical and efficient mitigation measures particularly in static net fisheries.
Interactions between fisheries and seabirds are frequent and widespread leading to levels of incidental seabird mortality which pose a serious threat to many seabird populations and which have an adverse effect on fishing productivity and profitability. The International Council for the Exploration of Sea (ICES) estimates conservatively that more than 200,000 seabirds die every year as a result of contact with the EU fishing fleet in EU and non-EU waters.

Source: European Commission