The national park of Calanques requires 450 000 euros to poachers for ecological damage

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This is the first case for environmental damage – a concept registered in the Civil Code since 2016 – to be tried in a court in France, according to the site's lawyer.

The World with AFP Posted yesterday at 18h07, updated yesterday at 18h30

Time to Reading 2 min.

The Calanques National Park, near Marseille, in the south of France, in February 2018.
The national park of Calanques, near Marseille, in the south of France, in February 2018. ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

They had illegally hunted tons of fish in the creeks. The national park asked Friday, November 8, 450 000 euros for "Ecological harm" four poachers of the seas, who appeared in Marseilles in civil. This is the first case for environmental damage – a concept registered in the Civil Code since 2016 – to be tried in court in France, according to the park's lawyer, Sébastien Mabile. The Advocate General added:

"The demand for the national park is legitimate and I ask the judge to assert the principle of law in this historic case. "

In July 2018, the four freedivers of Marseilles had been tried in the penal and sentenced to terms ranging from fifteen to eighteen months of suspended sentence, for having harpooned illegally for more than four years in the protected waters of the creeks.

Mr. Mabile recalled that 4.5 tonnes of fish and shellfish had been illegally harvested, which provoked "Going back three to four years compared to the"reserve effect" on biomass ». This "Reserve effect", he explained, defines the increase in biomass in non-fishing areas.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Traffic of sea urchins, octopus and fish in the natural park of Calanques

An impact on the entire food chain

At the helm on Friday, a research director emeritus of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), former member of the board of the Calanques Park, Denise Bellan-Santini, was sorry that poachers are attacking especially to predators like the grouper, on which an entire ecosystem depends.

"When a poacher pulls a 10 kg grouper, the impact on the whole biomass is multiplied by ten", she said, because the presence of this predator affects the entire food chain.

The park is also asking 100,000 underwater hunters for "Non-pecuniary damage", and 18,000 euros for the same injury to their customers: six scalers and restaurateurs located in Marseille, and who have benefited from this manna. These traders "Bought unprocessed, pierced, harpooned fish (…), but benefited from a very favorable regime "said Mr Mabile, recalling that they have avoided the public criminal trial and have only been sentenced to fines ranging from 800 to 1,500 euros.

The barkeepers and restaurateurs asked the president not to give in to the "Political and media pressure" and of «Bring this file back to its measurement», evoking "Just some fish bought", or "Five dozen sea urchins". The deliberation must be made on March 6, 2020.

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