Fishing gear bigger threat to birds than oil
Tuesday 08 June 2010
More seabirds have been killed by fishing gear in the past 10 years in European Union waters than by oil disasters since the Torrey Canyon in 1967, conservationists said yesterday.
At least two million birds are estimated by the RSPB and BirdLife International to have been killed by baited hooks and fishing nets in the decade since the European Commission first promised action to halt the "slaughter". The conservation groups accused the Commission of dragging its feet over bringing in an action plan.
In other parts of in the world, rules which require fishing vessels to take simple steps, including hanging streamer lines over long-line fishing tackle to scare off birds, have seen mortality rates tumble.
In South Africa, the number of seabirds caught as "bycatch" in the inshore fishing fleet has dropped by 84 per cent since 2006 as a result of bringing in protective measures.
Conservationists will today present a 23,000-signature petition to Europe's new fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, demanding urgent delivery of the promised seabird action plan.
Among the birds most at risk is the Balearic shearwater, which, despite increased sightings in UK waters, has seen numbers decline considerably in the past three decades. The RSPB warns the bird – one of the rarest regularly visiting Britain – could be lost in a generation if there is a failure to put protective measures in place.
Dr Euan Dunn, the head of marine policy at the RSPB, said changes in fishing practices can be simple to introduce to reduce the number of birds killed by equipment, yet while such techniques are now "hard-wired" into many fishing fleets in the southern hemisphere, they are "tragically" missing in Europe.
He said the Commission failed to give the issue of seabird bycatch sufficient priority for its fishing vessels and he voiced deep concern that there is no obligation on member states to report on the number of birds killed accidentally by fishing vessels.
Nathalie de Snijder, a marine advocacy officer for BirdLife International, said: "The science is there; the solutions are there. All we need is for the Commission to finally take action."
Kielder Forest considered as site for return of wild lynx to the UK after 1,300 year absence
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
Outlander novelist Diana Gabaldon in battle to prevent 'industrial-scale' windfarm being built where travel series is set
Britain's bluebells now face a fight for their very survival
Morne Hardenberg: 'Great white sharks have a softer side most people never get to see'
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...