Fishermen angry over four-week trawler ban to protect dolphins in the Bay of Biscay

NEWS: Fishermen are outraged by a four-week ban on trawler fishing to protect dolphins in the Bay of Biscay.

A fisherman based in the port of Lege-Cap-Ferret, Olivier Argelas said: “It’s really brutal of the government to bar us from working for a month. Fishing communities are angry. We feel abandoned and a bit lost.”

The ban starts on January 22. It applies to boats longer than 8 m; about half of the 1,000 or so French vessels operating in that area. The vessels will be confined to port until February 20.

A government spokesperson said that the ban would “reduce the accidental capture of dolphins in the Gulf of Gascony while preserving the economic viability of our fishing sector and supporting scientific research.”

The Times reports that hundreds of dead dolphins wash up on France’s Atlantic coast between the months of January and March annually because they’ve been caught up in nets. They are at their greatest risk in winter when they are searching for food near the shoreline.

Argelas complained that the ban “takes no account of the efforts we make to avoid the Dolphin problem, to avoid interactions with them.”

RELATED: Ghost fishing nets are death traps for specific marine wildlife

Many of the boats are fitted with dolphin and porpoise deterrent systems. These emit a high frequency sound. Despite these systems about 1000 dead dolphins wash up on the shore. The injuries suggest they were caught in nets or other fishing equipment or engines (propellers).

Dolphins and porpoise’s are in danger of disappearing in parts of the Bay of Biscay according to France Nature Environment. A spokesperson for that organisation said: “France has an international obligation to protect species in this area. It has been pretending to do so for years and it was warned by the EU in 2019 and again in 2022.”

France’s highest court dealing with matters involving the state, the Council of State, ordered the government to introduce a ban last March according to the Times.

RELATED: Hot water is killing dolphins in large numbers in the Amazon River

Conservation groups complained that government ministers had added many exceptions which would have made the ban ineffective this winter.

The court issued a new ruling before Christmas which closed the loopholes.

In March, fishermen protested at the initial announcement of the ban by blocking the fishing port of Bayonne.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Marine wildlife > dolphins