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Despite its ban by the courts, the State authorizes the fishing of endangered species in the “Far South West”

The administrative court of Pau suspended at the end of April the fishing in the Adour of five species of migratory fish (lampreys, shads, salmon) in danger. However, the Landes prefecture continues to authorize it, triggering the ire of the 16 associations that obtained its conviction.

On April 22, 2022, the Administrative Court of Pau suspended the decree authorizing net fishing upstream of the Adour of five species – lampreys (sea lamprey and river lamprey, endangered), big shad (critically endangered extinction), dummy shad and salmon (vulnerable) – in the Landes. It only suspends fishing for shad and sea lamprey in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

Justice had been seized by 16 environmental associations and amateur fishermen, and a first court decision prohibiting this practice had been rendered on July 9, 2021.

“The judge held a violation of the precautionary principle which is common sense and has constitutional value because of the existence of a risk of serious and irreversible damage to the environment”, notes Sea Shepherd, one of these associations. .

Sea Shepherd stresses that “the Adour is one of the few European rivers that still have salmon spawning grounds”.

“But for how long?, she wonders. Indeed, nets placed in the river, in the heart of the Natura 2000 zone, block the path of endangered migratory species which arrive from the ocean and come to the river to reproduce, thus stopping a crucial stage in the life cycle of these species. »

“rogue state”

While these species are in the middle of a migration period, “we have nevertheless noted that fishing has continued despite everything on the river Adour”, indicates a photo in support of the association Défense des Milieus Aquatiques (DMA), in a press release. this Wednesday, May 18.

Control by the environmental police (OFB) of the capture of a salmon by the vessel “Salumax” near the Urt bridge on Tuesday May 17, 2022 (DMA / DR)

“The attitude of the Landes prefecture is a denial of justice”, charges its president, Philippe Garcia. In a letter addressed to the President of the Approved Association of Professional Freshwater Fishermen on May 16, the Prefect of the Landes Françoise Tahéri indeed justifies the maintenance in her department of the capture of species whose fishing remains authorized in the neighbors.

“Article R436-37 of the Environment Code provides that when a watercourse or a body of water is adjoining between several departments, the provisions applicable are applied, failing agreement between the prefects. less restrictive in the departments concerned. Pursuant to this article, professional and amateur fishing with nets for Atlantic salmon, feint shad and river lamprey remains possible only on the parts of the rivers adjoining the department of Pyrénées-Atlantique. »

Translation by the DMA association:

“Respecting the less restrictive judgment will lead to the violation of the most restrictive judgment. The justice which is requested for the execution of its judgments will decide, but the spectacle is already appalling. New Aquitaine is the “Far South West”. »

A bad party

“The State and the fishermen affected by this ban refuse to stop fishing, despite the immediately enforceable nature of the Court’s decision and the compensation provided”, adds Sea Shepherd.

“This “rogue” attitude of the State, which is nevertheless the guarantor of respect for the law, maintains a feeling of total and uninhibited impunity among all those who illegally harm biodiversity (…). Height of the scandal, Barbara Pompili, Minister for the Ecological Transition, committed public money to lodge an appeal in cassation before the Council of State on April 5, 2022 in an attempt to have the ban on fishing for lampreys and shads”.

Défense des Milieus Aquatiques notes that at the same time, “the festival committee of Audon (Landes) served shad, a species “in critical danger of extinction”, to 800 guests last weekend. This weekend was certainly not a party either for the shads or for future generations who are being robbed without having a say in the matter”.

The association wishes that the shad festivals in Audon continue, but that they be celebrated with the aim of promoting the rescue of fish and no longer for “its consumption which is anachronistic today”.

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