EU proposes complete ban on drift-net fishing

May 14, 2014
Sardines are seen trapped in a fishing net on September 24, 2013 in Quiberon, western France

The European Union said Wednesday it wants a complete ban by 2015 on drift-net fishing, dubbed by environmentalists as 'walls of death' for killing other marine animals, especially dolphins.

Drift-nets, often vast lengths of near-invisible nylon netting floating near the sea surface, have been banned since 2002 for migratory fisheries but the rules are being flouted, the European Commission said.

Accordingly, there should now be a full EU ban on the drift-nets, which the Commission said kill "marine mammals, and sea birds which are mostly protected," a statement said.

"I am convinced that the only way to eradicate this once and for all is to have clear rules which leave no room for interpretation," said EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki.

Despite the 2002 restriction, drift-nets have continued to be used for smaller fish such as sardines and anchovies in the Mediterranean and other areas but they are indiscriminate, entangling anything that tries to swim through them.

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