The European Commission has demanded today that France, Spain and Sweden take immediate action to prevent the needless deaths of dolphins and porpoises killed every year as bycatch in fishing nets. 

Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans is an increasing threat for marine life. The adoption of the Single Use Plastic Directive by the European Union in 2019 represented an ambitious step to get rid of the ten most polluting items found on European beaches. However, one year after the entry into force of the directive, the transposition of the legislation into domestic law has stalled in most European countries. In addition, the COVID crisis has led to a dramatic surge in the use and littering of single-use plastics.

Today, the European Commission published a report assessing the progress with the implementation of the EU’s Marine Directive [1], adopted in 2008. The report comes out just as the European Environment Agency paints a dire picture of the state of European seas in its new Marine report. Marine life, from seabed to sea birds, is suffering: 79% of the EU’s coastal seabed is damaged by bottom-trawling, up to 53% of sharks, rays and skates are threatened by bycatch and marine mammals’ condition has been in sharp decline since 2009.

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