On European Maritime Day, WDCS has criticized the German government over what it calls highly ineffective approach to protecting Germany’s marine wildlife, with even designated marine protected areas(MPAs) leaving animals exposed to kilometers of fishing nets, waste water and noise pollution from military exercises.
WDCS Germany’s Fabian Ritter, explains: “We call for marine protected areas that deserve that name – and which are not only existing on paper. Destructive fishing methods such as bottom trawls, beam trawls and gillnets must not have a place inside protected areas. Furthermore whales need a quiet environment. Seismic surveys and military exercises must not be allowed in protected zones.”
Germany has designated a marine protected area in the waters of the island of Sylt – a key breeding area for harbour porpoises in the North Sea, and eight protected areas have been designated in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) focusing on Harbour Porpoises. But this protection still mainly exists on paper only as fishermen are allowed to use destructive methods, and military exercises still take place in and around these areas.
Ritter is critical of the German government for simply paying lip service only to this important issue. “N either the German government nor the federal government of Schleswig-Holstein have done their homework. This needs to change in the future. It’s up to the German government now to set clear signals for a more efficient protection, as this will also gain attention throughout the EU.”