Joint NGO letter to EU Commission on Baltic proper harbour porpoise

In September 2020, together with NABU, WWF, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Danish Society for Nature Conservation, we sent a letter to Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Ocean and Fisheries, on the protection of the Baltic proper harbour porpoise.

The harbour porpoise in the Baltic Proper is critically endangered with only a few hundred animals left. The primary threat to the remaining Baltic porpoises is the incidental bycatch in fishing nets and urgent actions are needed to stop it from going extinct.

In the letter, we expressed our concern about the low level of ambition in the current negotiations within BALTFISH to develop a Joint Recommendation [1]. The current BALTFISH proposal for measures does not meet the legal requirements to protect this population, and is missing key components of the ICES advice [2].

Therefore, we call for more commitment from the relevant Member States within BALTFISH in protecting the last Baltic Proper harbour porpoises, and we look to the European Commission to continue its commitment to this issue by implementing Emergency Measures in line with the ICES recommendations.

In November 2020, we received a letter in reply from Commissioner Sinkevičius. We welcome his position on this matter, confirming that the Commission is pushing Baltfish countries to come up with more ambitious measure to prevent harbour porpoise bycatch, and that they are indeed ready to implement emergency measures.

Read the full NGO letter and Commissioner Sinkevičius´s reply. ______________________________________________________________________________

[1] http://www.bsac.dk/getattachment/Meetings/BSAC-meetings/Ecosystem-based-working-group/harbour-porpoises-JR-draft-rev-BSACPDF.pdf.aspx?lang=en-GB

[2] https://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2020/Special_Requests/eu.2020.04.pdf