Thursday

24th Jun 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Luxembourg tax scandal may prompt EU action

An investigation into Luxembourg's tax regime has uncovered how the Italian mafia, the Russian underworld, and billionaires attempt to stash away their wealth. The European Commission has put itself on standby amid suggestions changes to EU law may be needed.

Investigation

Portugal vs Germany clash on EU corporate tax avoidance

Portugal's taking over the EU presidency puts the tax transparency law for corporations - which has been fought over for years - to a vote in the Council of Ministers. The resistance of the German government has failed.

News in Brief

  1. Gay-rights activist storms pitch at Hungary's Euro game
  2. UK defies Russian military over Crimea
  3. Delta variant to be 'predominant in EU by end-August'
  4. EU domestic banks need climate-risk plans
  5. Report: France and Germany want EU-Russia summit
  6. New EU rules on shipping fuels dubbed 'disastrous'
  7. Japan government proposes four-day working week
  8. US: Nord Stream 2 undermines Ukraine's security

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU talks migration over dinner, as NGO rescue-ship sets sail
  2. EU enlargement still 'hopelessly stuck'
  3. EU creates new cyber unit, after wave of online attacks
  4. How NOT to frame debate about Hungary's toxic anti-gay law
  5. What a post-Netanyahu Israel means for EU
  6. EU Commission warns Hungary over anti-LGBTIQ measures
  7. Fourteen EU countries condemn Hungary over anti-LGBTIQ law
  8. EU preparing to lift Burundi sanctions, despite warning

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us