Greater Conservation for Europe

Dolphins, marine turtles and other European Protected Species are to benefit from increased protection from this summer. Stronger laws will be created for the protection of European Protected Species and their habitats.

These new laws, which implement EU legislation, will be brought in on 21 August 2007, by changes to the Habitats Regulations, and introduction of the new Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations.

People will now have to consider, in a wider range of circumstances, the presence of these protected species and their breeding sites or resting places.

Anyone who wishes to possess specimens of a protected species will now need a genuine reason for doing so, and will have to demonstrate this is compatible with the Regulations.

Tougher rules on the trading of protected European species which are non-native to the UK will act as a deterrent to the killing or taking of such species from the wild.

Biodiversity Minister, Barry Gardiner, said, “the changes to the Habitats Regulations will provide improved protection for European Protected Species, and just as importantly, improved protection for their habitats.

Those carrying out activities that may affect these species will now have to consider whether the activity is really necessary. If it is, and the potential effects on these species cannot be avoided, they should apply for a licence from the relevant authority.”

The new Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations will extend protection out to 200 nautical miles.

Marine and Fisheries Minister, Ben Bradshaw, said, “Protection is being given to marine species, wild birds and habitats mainly through tougher laws and improved protection of the marine environment.

To help do this we will also be identifying and protecting a number of Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas in the offshore area. We will consult on the first seven draft sites later this year.

“The new Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations apply to all sea users in the offshore area and prohibit the deliberate killing or disturbance of European Protected Species, including dolphins, turtles and sturgeon.”