Tunis, 22 May 2007: Bycatch
is one of the major threats cetaceans face in all the
world’s oceans and seas. Despite efforts to introduce
“dolphin friendly” fishing methods, very often
still old net types are used or preventive measures designed
to avoid entanglement of marine mammals in nets not employed.
In the Mediterranean, swordfish fisheries are often still
using pelagic driftnets, which were banned in that region
in 1997 and are one of the main causes of mortality of
cetaceans and other protected marine species. Accordingly,
reduction of bycatch is a main focus of the activities
of CMS and the ACCOBAMS Agreement.
The Marevivo Environmental Association (www.marevivo.it)
hosted an international workshop in Tunis on “Fisheries
and Mediterranean Marine Biodiversity” from 20-22
May as part of their “Mediterranean Freedolphin”
campaign, which aims inter alia at creating a ‘label’
to certify that commercial catching of swordfish has taken
place with techniques not implying bycatch of cetaceans.
Representatives from numerous countries around the Mediterranean
Sea were present and listened to a joint presentation
of Marco Barbieri (CMS Scientific Officer, photo: right)
and Marie-Christine Grillo-van Klaveren (ACCOBAMS Executive
Secretary, photo: left) on the role of migratory species
in marine ecosystems and the relevance of fisheries as
a threat to marine mammals.
During the workshop the Year of the Dolphin was officially
launched in North Africa. Explaining the objectives and
activities of the campaign, Marco Barbieri also provided
copies of the outreach material produced to delegates.
Governments and NGOs alike were encouraged to actively
support the campaign. Worldwide, individuals and organisations
are carrying out numerous activities: they plan art contests,
organise exhibitions, produce information material or
engage schools and the public in conservation activities,
to name but a few examples. Around the Mediterranean,
“Dolphin Days” are being organised in several
places and a targeted educational campaign is being carried
out. More information on how to support the campaign can
be found under www.YoD2007.org.
The special role the Mediterranean region has in this
campaign was emphasised already in late 2006, when as
part of the celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of ACCOBAMS,
the Year of the Dolphin 2007 was originally presented
to the public. Marie-Christine Grillo-van Klaveren showed
a short video of this event, which was commemorated by
installing a dolphin statue in a marine reserve off Monaco
on 17 September 2006 and at which H.S.H. Prince Albert
II assumed his role as Ambassador for the campaign.
For further information please contact:
Marco Barbieri, Technical and Scientific Officer
here to go to contact page)
Marie-Christine Grillo-van Klaveren, Executive
here to go to contact page)