House approves Cetacean Protection Bill
25th July 2003
Italy On Line
( Special service by AGI on behalf of the Italian Prime Minister's office )
Twenty species of cetacean living in the Mediterranean are under protection, in the Black Sea and the Atlantic near the Mediterranean (from Portugal to Morocco). The cabinet, in fact, gave the go-ahead to ratify the Morocco agreement of 1996. These creatures are threatened by fishing and are now given their own protected area.
"Italy, France, and Monaco have created a cetacean sanctuary of 96 000 square kilometres - declared Environment Minister, Altero Matteoli - International agreements protect them all for the common good.” The measure will provide a data bank of cetacean mortality due to human activity, especially those who are beached; an information gathering system; the evaluation of distribution. The agreement also looks to protect the habitat and evaluate human-cetacean interactions.
The last census was done in the Ligurian Sea 11 years ago and showed 25 000 dolphins and 1000 common whales. Today, 11 years on, non-official observations speak of a halving. The Ministry has given ICRAM the go-ahead for a census that has begun on the Siclian coast.