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Dolphins stranded in France: the federal government accused of not doing sufficient

Lots of of dolphins stranded on the seashores of the Atlantic in France: annually, the phenomenon amplifies and worries, prompting NGOs and scientists to demand a short lived interruption of fishing, thought of liable for these deaths, whereas the federal government places for now extra on technical options.

On Wednesday, the League for the Safety of Birds launched a citizen enchantment and challenged the Head of State Emmanuel Macron: “The time has come to do our utmost to save lots of dolphins from mistreatment, even extinction” and to “droop now and for a number of weeks the fishing practices liable for the seize of dolphins within the Bay of Biscay”, alert Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, the president of the LPO, in a letter.

⋙ To raised defend dolphins, Sea Shepherd and France Nature Environnement assault the federal government

On January 16, the Pelagis observatory, which has been recording cetacean strandings on the Atlantic coast since 1970, warned of “a brand new episode of extra mortality of frequent dolphins”, with 282 strandings since December 1. The federal government listed 91 small cetaceans stranded between December 1 and 31.

– The fishermen implicated –

Based on the LPO, “the pictures displaying minimize caudal fins and visual traces of nets depart little doubt concerning the origin of this carnage”, pointing the finger on the accountability of pelagic trawls and gillnets.

“The bulk (of the stranded dolphins) confirmed traces of seize in fishing gear,” confirms Pelagis, noting that this “extra mortality” is “notably early” this yr.

In January 2022, 73 frequent dolphins washed up on Atlantic seashores. This yr, since January 1 alone, we’re already at 127, in accordance with a rely of January 24. Historically nearly all of catches happen in February and March, when dolphins come nearer to the coast to search out their meals and subsequently have probably the most interplay with fishing gear, in the midst of the hake and bass fishing season.

⋙ In France, greater than 1,100 dolphins stranded on the Atlantic coast since January

After a peak in 2020 with 1,299 frequent dolphins killed, the variety of annual strandings of this species, protected at French and European stage, has fallen to 669 in 2022. However, understanding that greater than 80% of lifeless dolphins sink or break down at sea slightly than run aground, the annual mortality of dolphins on the Atlantic coasts is estimated at between 8,000 and 11,000 people, out of a inhabitants of roughly 180,000 to 200,000.

The Ciem, a scientific physique which displays the ecosystems of the North Atlantic, has for years advocated a winter suspension of sure non-selective fishing practices. A measure strongly opposed by industrial fishermen however demanded by a number of NGOs.

– Authorities plan –

Sea Shepherd France had denounced in mid-January the dearth of “concrete measures” on the a part of the State within the face of this mortality, asserting that it needed to file a criticism, as in 2019.

Additionally pressed by the European Fee, which for 2 years has been asking it to do extra, the French authorities, which acknowledges that the rise in dolphin strandings is “worrying”, offered a brand new plan ten days in the past in 8 factors, supplementing that of 2019, which favored the development of information and the implementation of technical measures, comparable to on-board cameras or acoustic repellents.

Since January 1, these beacons, already in place on trawlers, have been prolonged to the “most energetic gillnetters within the Bay of Biscay” (round 60% of the energetic fleet) as a part of “a large-scale experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of those options.

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For the LPO, these are “half-measures (…) which won’t change something and waste valuable time”. Sea Shepherd even considers them harmful: “by thus creating huge exclusion zones for dolphins from their feeding grounds, the latter could now not have the ability to meet their important meals wants”, she warns.

A voluntary remark marketing campaign on board fishing gear, in addition to geolocation gadgets additionally characteristic within the authorities plan, which “within the absence of passable outcomes on the discount of unintended catches” doesn’t fully shut the door to “spatio-temporal closures” of fishing “within the winter of 2024-2025 within the Bay of Biscay”.

⋙ Whale migration: scientists create a map of the “highways” taken by cetaceans

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