Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Bradshaw calls for urgent action on drift net "scandal"

Bradshaw calls for urgent action on drift net "scandal"

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (168/07) issued by The Government News Network on 11 June 2007

Britain has called on the European Commission to take urgent action to stop the use of illegal fishing nets in the Mediterranean that are decimating endangered bluefin tuna and responsible for indiscriminate slaughter of dolphins and turtles.

Driftnets have been banned in the EU since 2002 but there are regular reports of Italian and French vessels ignoring the ban.

Recently a boat owned by marine conservationists Oceana, which was monitoring illegal activity, was attacked by a group of driftnetters off the coast of Southern France.

UK Fisheries Ministers Ben Bradshaw today (11 June) told a meeting of
fellow Ministers in Luxembourg that the UK was "very disturbed"
by the reports and asked that the Commission take urgent and decisive action to ensure the driftnet ban was enforced and complied with.

Earlier, the UK voted against long awaited proposals to protect bluefin tuna stocks in the Mediterranean, saying they were not tough enough.

The UK and Ireland were also unhappy that EU rules requiring any overfished stock to be paid back in future are not being implemented for tuna but are being implemented for UK and Irish overfishing of mackerel which are not under threat.

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