Friday

23rd Aug 2019

Greenpeace dumps boulders in anti-trawling move

Greenpeace boats sailed on Monday (10 August) into Swedish waters and began dumping 180 two-three tonne granite rocks on the seabed to prevent fishermen from using bottom trawling in areas under European Union protection.

The area in Kattegat, between Denmark and Sweden, is mainly used by Danish fishermen but is listed under the EU's Habitat Directive because of its unique and rich sea life.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Local authorities in Sweden would like to stop bottom trawling in the area, but the decision falls with EU authorities, which have allowed the practice despite the habitat register.

"Today it is nearly impossible for the responsible authorities in EU member states - in Sweden, the County Administrative Boards - to regulate fisheries which take place in areas designated as marine protected areas," said Greenpeace in Sweden in a briefing.

Local fishermen tried on Monday to block the port of Varberg, where a large cargo ship loaded with tonnes of Greenpeace' granite blocks headed out to sea.

The head of regional fishermen's association Hallandsfiskarna, Viking Bengtsson, declared at an earlier hearing that the placement of stones was "unnecessary," but agreed that reformed fisheries management is needed in the region.

The Danish minister responsible for fisheries, Eva Kjer Hansen, said the NGO's action was "unacceptable vigilantism" and called on her Swedish colleague to stop Greenpeace.

"It is for the authorities to decide where it is authorised to fish and were it is not authorised. The Greenpeace move is pure vigilantism, imposing losses of fishing opportunities on law-abiding Danish fishermen," Mrs Kjer Hansen said in a statement.

She contacted her Swedish colleague Eskil Erlandsson and pointed out that it makes no sense to strike bilateral Danish-Swedish agreements about closing fisheries in certain areas to protect threatened species, if organisations take the law into their own hands and simply close areas to fishing.

Sweden's fisheries minister Eskil Erlandsson has not stopped the dumping, however.

He said in a comment published by Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that "fish do not recognise any borders" and added that problems had to be solved between countries and through internal bodies.

"The demand from Greenpeace of a unilateral ban in the area concerned is without effect as the areas are covered by the EU's common fisheries policy. It means all countries in the EU hold rights to fish in the area. A ban on just Swedish fishermen would not work", he said.

So far only Ireland has managed to introduce local restrictions on fisheries to protect marine environment, while Germany has launched a process to have more areas protected.

Exclusive

Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

A European financial regulatory body set up after the financial crisis is at loggerheads with the European Commission over whether to carry out a transparency review of certain financial products. The reason: Brexit.

Commission defends Mercosur trade deal

EU commissioners defended a far-reaching free trade agreement between the EU and four Latin American countries, against critics who fear it will damage European farmers' livelihoods and the global environment.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

EU banks more vulnerable to shocks than feared

Eurozone banks, such as Deutsche Bank, might be much more vulnerable to a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis than EU "stress-tests" have said, according to a new audit.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us