Oceana blasts Danish government approval of destructive mussel dredging in marine protected area

Yesterday, the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Mette Gjerskov granted permission for mussel fisheries inside a Natura 2000 area in the Little Belt, Denmark.

Press Release Date: March 22, 2012

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Oceana is deeply disturbed by this decision, which is a clear step in the wrong direction for a government that has prided itself on its efforts to support sustainability. Mussel dredging is extremely destructive, and severely disturbs all benthic life, which can take up to 20 years for a full recovery.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that such a destructive method should be allowed inside a protected area,” stated Hanna Paulomäki, Baltic Sea Project Manager. “All fisheries with bottom contacting gear should be prohibited inside Natura 2000 areas if any real attempt at protection is to be made.”

This permission grants fishermen the right to dredge blue mussels in the area until 28th February, 2013. The EU Commission warned already in February that judicial proceedings would be considered against Denmark if the environmental protection needs of Natura 2000 sites are not sufficiently taken into account. In the press release yesterday the Minister said that it is crucial that the management of mussel fisheries inside Natura 2000 areas, protects their unique nature and abides by EU regulations.

Oceana will soon publish a report on fisheries management in the Baltic Sea and Kattegat, which will provide recommendations and guiding principles to move towards truly sustainable fisheries practices in the region.