French court: Ban fishing in dolphin areas
France’s highest administrative court has ordered the government to ban fishing in certain parts of the Atlantic Ocean to protect dolphins.
The decision comes after at least 910 dead dolphins were found on France’s Atlantic coast since the beginning of winter.
In just one week, more than 400 of these marine mammals were found stranded along the coast. According to a report from the Pelagic Oceanographic Observatory based in the city of La Rochelle, this is an unprecedented number.
Most of the dead dolphins had injuries that indicated they were entangled in fishing nets, other fishing gear, or boat engines.
Several environmental organizations and researchers have called for a temporary fishing halt, but the government has instead chosen solutions that mitigate the impact of industrial fishing on dolphins. However, many believe that these solutions are not sufficient to protect cetacean species such as dolphins and porpoises.
The court has given the government six months to establish no-go zones for fishing and to increase monitoring of bycatch.