European Commission issues marine warning
European Union member states must do more to protect dolphins, whales and porpoises from dangers such as pollution and illegal fishing or face legal action, the European Commission said on yesterday.
Brussels has taken the first legal steps against eight countries, including Britain, after receiving numerous complaints from campaigners that they are not doing enough to monitor and protect marine mammals.
"We cannot discuss specific complaints, but many of the well-known groups have contacted us," an EC official said.
"These nations have all failed to establish effective surveillance systems and need to take corrective action."
The countries facing legal action are Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK. They could end up before the European Court of Justice if they fail to tighten up their monitoring.
Under EU law, whales, dolphins and porpoises are classed as "species of community interest," obliging governments to look after them.