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Gillnets documented inside Baltic Sea protected area

Thursday, Jul 20, 2017

In the latest update from our Baltic Sea Campaign, Sea Shepherd volunteers witness gillnets being used in protected waters. 

The Sierra in front of gillnets in a protected area. Photo by Sea Shepherd.

During a patrol close to a nature sanctuary the crew of the Sierra observed a fishing boat that was pulling up three gillnets inside the protected area. Close by, a harbor porpoise appeared at the same time, and therefore was at risk of swimming directly into the nets. Our crew will increase the patrols in this area.

This shows again that even if sanctuaries exist on paper, the reality looks a lot different. We must establish real sanctuaries deserving of the name, where all human activity is banned, especially fishing with gill- or bottom trawling nets.

Documenting the exact position. Photo by Sea Shepherd.
Harbor porpoise swimming close to gillnets. Photo by Sea Shepherd.
Patrolling in the harbor area. Photo by Sea Shepherd.

About the Baltic Sea Campaign

The endangered harbour porpoises are considered to be particularly protected under EU law, and the member states are obliged to take measures to ensure this protection in the natural habitats of the harbour porpoises is upheld. Nevertheless, by exemption regulations the use of gillnets is allowed in FFH-areas and nature sanctuaries. Harbour porpoises often end up as bycatch in these nets and drown. Thus, Germany violates the protective laws of the EU!

From July 1st until the end of September the Emanuel Bronner and the fastboat Sierra will be patrolling different areas of the Baltic Sea. The main goal of the campaign is the protection of the endangered harbour porpoises that often die in the gillnets of fishermen. Illegal nets will be documented and reported to the local authorities. The patrols will also help to monitor the threats for the endangered porpoises and to retrieve deadly ghostnets.

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