Friday, October 1, 2010

Turkey Offers Some Good News on Driftnets

Turkey has said it will stop using driftnets to catch fish in the Mediterranean. Good news because drift nets indiscriminately kill many other fish and marine life in addition to their target fish such as tuna. It's a big problem known as bycatch. I heard a marine biologist once describe drift nets as giant ghost-like sheets of netting floating around in the ocean looking for something to kill.

However, guarded optimism  surrounds the good news since many countries and fishermen have ignored bans on the fishing gear for years. According to, after the UN approved the moratorium in 1992, driftnets were banned by the EU, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). The use of this gear has since been largely eradicated in the EU and only Italy insists on using it, despite its dangerous impact on populations of endangered species.

It is estimated that over 10,000 cetaceans, 100,000 endangered sharks and thousands of turtles have been trapped by driftnets each year. Oceana estimates that over 500 vessels have operated illegally in the Mediterranean, some with nets up to 20 kilometres long.

Thanks to Oceana, the excellent international marine conservation organization, for helping to drive this change in the Turkish fishing fleet and for keeping this issue on the radar.

Read more here.
A Good Place for Them

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