BlueShark Conservation was the driving force behind the “Warrelniet – Mailles Fatales” campaign to establish a nationwide ban on the recreational use of gill nets on Belgian shores.
Gill nets are indiscriminative and kill every creature unlucky enough to run into them.
In Belgium, gill nets were placed all along our coastline by recreational fishermen, mostly in spring when North Sea fish migrate to our warm shallow beachwaters to spawn.
Getting caught in these nets ment that they were caught before having the opportunity to reproduce.
Moreover, large schools of harbor porpoises are attracted to the mass spawning and many of them would get entangled and drown after suffocating in the nets.
The campaign was officially launced with a large beach event on May 1, 2014. Next to several activities and initiatives to give the campaign visibility, a petition was started.
On October 23, 2014 the Warrelniet campaign coalition partners: BlueShark Conservation, Sea Shepherd Belgium, Natuurpunt and Sea First Belgium, met with the Flemish Minister of Nature and Fisheries Joke Schauvlieghe to hand over +22 600 petition signatures.
Just three weeks later, on november 7, the Flemish Government signed the first agreement to ban the recreative use of gill nets on Belgian shores. The new law came into effect on april 1, 2015.
The campaign website (in Dutch and French) is still online. www.warelniet.be