MEP Delivers By-Catch Petition

A 20,000-signature petition calling for action to stem the slaughter of dolphins and porpoises in nets has been collected by the National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek.

South West´s Conservative MEP, Giles Chichester, will be taking the petition to Brussels on behalf of the Sanctuary, and will receive it on Friday (22nd July 2005) during a visit to Gweek.

Mr Chichester will present the signatures to the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Franz Fischler, who has received similar petitions from all the Sea Life centres across the UK and Europe.

"Thousands of cetaceans, especially dolphins, are drowning after getting tangled in fishing nets, particularly pair trawl nets that are trailed between two boats," said Rachael Vine. "Not only are cetaceans at risk, but seals also can become entangled in nets. At least 10% of all the seals the Sanctuary rescues every winter have some kind of netting injury."

"Recent changes have been that if dolphin pods are spotted in an area, fishing nets will not be used, this has helped make a start to reducing the number of cetacean death but more still needs to be done."

A proposal has been made to phase out pair trawling by the European Parliament, this is good news, but we still need to maintain public pressure on the EU to ensure that these proposals become legislation.

This petition was launched as part of our on going campaign to Save Our Seas, which have successfully lobbied to improve the protection for endangered loggerhead sea turtles, and get the ´shark finning´ trade outlawed in European waters.

"Giles Chichester, who is President of EEF, European Energy Forum and ITRE Industry Trade research Energy will present this to the European Parliament in Brussels." added Rachael.

MEP will be visiting from 11am until 1.30pm on Friday 22nd of July 2005

For more information, please contact Rachel Vine on 01326 221361

Press Release date: 21st July 2005