Seas At Risk’s Belgian member organisations Natuurpunt and Sea First Federation are helping to organise an anti-trammel net campaign in Belgium, with a major beach rally planned for 1st May.

The campaign is asking the government of the Flanders region to ban the use of trammel nets by recreational fishermen on the Belgian coast, due to their highly destructive effects. The nets consist of nylon mesh and are laid off the coast to catch fish, often by tangling their gills in the narrow gaps. They are already subject to EU bans, and Belgium is being threatened with breaches of the EU habitats directive for its failure to control their use. As well as killing significant amounts of immature and unwanted fish, the nets are also responsible for the drowning of harbour porpoises and could potentially pose a danger to beach users and anglers in the light of changing patterns of beach usage.

The Warrelniet campaign brings together Natuurpunt, Sea First Federation, Sea Shepherd and Blue Shark to push for political action to rid the Belgian coast of these destructive nets. The campaign has a number of events already planned – on 12th and 26th April they will have information stands at Niuewpoort and Panne beaches. 1st May sees the main event of the campaign – a beach rally at Nieuwpoort that will feature a number of celebrity supporters and speakers, including Sea Shepherd Global GEO Alex Cornelissen. There will also be a sand sculpture contest, a kids club and other activities to promote the cause and raise awareness of the issue.

You can see the campaign’s website and the event facebook page for more details. You can help out by signing the petition to Flemish Minister for the Environment, Nature and Culture Joke Schauvliege and Flanders’ Minister President Kris Peeters.

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