The European Commission has confirmed that it has had the enforcement of the driftnet ban in Italy under scrutiny. The Commission says that it has conducted four inspections in the last year – the latest being between May 9th and 13th.
The issue of drift nets has been raised with the Commission by EFTTA’s lobbyist Jan Kappel in the past. On behalf of EFTTA he has called on the EU to ensure that the driftnet ban is followed by all fishermen and implemented and enforced properly by the member states.
Kappel said: “I cannot tell for sure how much credit we should attribute to our lobbying for those inspections, but all good lobby efforts help – including ours.”
The use of driftnets larger than 2.5kg has been prohibited in the EU since June 1992. Also all driftnets – no matter what size they are – are prohibited while intended for the capture of certain species, including Bluefin tuna and swordfish.
The findings of the EU Commission are currently being cross-checked with the information provided by the Italian authorities. The EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, has on previous occasions made it clear that the EU has to ’get serious ‘about implementation and compliance if it is to achieve its aims of a sustainable, modern and future-orientated fisheries policy.