What: In a visually powerful action, environmental NGOs will hand over a petition signed by 461,000 people to Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Annick Giradin, French Minister of the Sea (TBC), Barbara Pompili, French Ministry of the Ecological Transition (TBC), Bérangère Abba, French Secretary of State for Biodiversity (TBC), Hugo Morán, Spanish Secretary of State for Environment, and Luis Planas, Spanish Minister of Fisheries (TBC). Citizens and NGOs urge national governments and the EU to take joint action to prevent thousands of supposedly protected dolphins from dying in fishing nets in the Bay of Biscay each year. 

Who: Seas At Risk, Blue Planet Society, France Nature Environnement, Ecologistas en Acción, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, ClientEarth, change.org

When: Thursday 10 February at 17:00 CET. 

Where: Résidence étudiante UXCO Lemon de Brest, Salle Commune, 90, rue du Cap Horn, 29200 Brest, France, on the margins of the One Ocean Summit. 


The petition, hosted on the citizens’ platform Change, was launched by the Blue Planet Society and supported by NGOs. It demands that the European Commission and French and Spanish Ministers jointly implement the measures recommended by scientists to end common dolphin bycatch in the Bay of Biscay.  

Scientists estimate that between 5,000 and 10,000 common dolphins are killed in the Bay of Biscay every year due to harmful fishing activities, with peak deaths and strandings occurring between December and March. 

Scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) have identified bycatch as the main threat to this dolphin population and called for a closure of the fisheries responsible during the peak stranding period. 

Like other cetaceans, dolphins are strictly protected in EU waters under the Habitats Directive. Member States are obliged to minimise and, where possible, eliminate the incidental catch of non-target species by their fisheries. However, no sufficient measures have been put in place to prevent dolphin bycatch and death, despite the problem persisting for decades.

Interested? Let us know if you wish to be kept up to date on the latest about this in person event at   +32 483 457 483

Videos and visuals available: drop box 

Relevant links

Link to the petition in English here and in French here

Link to the NGOs’ website dedicated to the bycatch of dolphins available in EN, FR and ES.

Hashtags for social media: #EndBycatch #DéfendsTaMer #StopMuerteDelfines