The European Union launches a public consultation towards a seabird bycatch plan of action

The European Commission has announced its intention to develop an EU Action Plan to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds in longlines and gillnets, following the now well-known FAO guidelines.

The Commission is inviting stakeholders and the general public to express their views on the questions identified in a consultation paper, as well as to present their opinions regarding further actions that could be introduced into a future Commission proposal for an EU-Plan of Action on Seabirds. Click here to find out how to submit your views to the European Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. The deadline for submissions is 9 August 2010. Received contributions will be published on the Internet.

The consultation paper gives information on European fishing areas where seabirds are most at risk from longlines and gill nets and lists mitigation measures available, modelled on those already adopted by CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources). The paper concludes that, unlike in the southern hemisphere, seabirds in European waters are not at risk from trawls.

The consultation paper builds upon the data and information (click here) obtained through the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) on the subject as well as from scientific publications. The outcome of the consultation will form part of an Impact Assessment that will be conducted before the Commission drafts a proposal for a new European Plan of Action for reducing incidental catch of seabirds in fisheries (EU-PoA Seabirds).

An EU-wide plan of action that requires the adoption of proven mitigation measures will materially help conserve those European seabirds most at risk, such as the shearwaters that breed within the Mediterranean, especially the Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus, which has a Critically Endangered status and may be proposed by France and Spain for ACAP listing (click here).


John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 June 2010


The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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