Tag Archives: Protected species

Natural habitats

Natural habitats

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Natural habitats

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Natural habitats (Natura 2000)

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The continuing deterioration of natural habitats and the threats posed to certain species are one of the main concerns of European Union (EU) environment policy. This Directive, known as the Habitats Directive, is intended to help maintain biodiversity in the Member States by defining a common framework for the conservation of wild plants and animals and habitats of Community interest.

The Habitats Directive established the “Natura 2000” network. This network is the largest ecological network in the world. It comprises special areas of conservation designated by Member States under the current Directive. Furthermore, it also includes special protection areas classified pursuant to the “Wild birds” Directive 2009/147/EC.

Annexes I and II to the Directive contain the types of habitats and species whose conservation requires the designation of special areas of conservation. Some of them are defined as “priority” habitats or species (in danger of disappearing). Annex IV lists animal and plant species in need of particularly strict protection.

Special areas of conservation are designated in three stages. Following the criteria set out in the annexes, each Member State must draw up a list of sites hosting natural habitats and wild fauna and flora. On the basis of the national lists and by agreement with the Member States, the Commission will then adopt a list of sites of Community importance for each of the nine EU biogeographical regions (the Alpine region, the Atlantic region, the Black Sea region, the Boreal region, the Continental region, the Macronesian region, the Mediterranean region, the Pannonian region and the Steppic region). No later than six years after the selection of a site of Community importance, the Member State concerned must designate it as a special area of conservation.

Where the Commission considers that a site which hosts a priority natural habitat type or a priority species has been omitted from a national list, the Directive provides for a bilateral consultation procedure to be initiated between that Member State and the Commission. If the result of the consultation is unsatisfactory, the Commission must forward a proposal to the Council relating to the selection of the site as a site of Community importance.

Member States must take all necessary measures to guarantee the conservation of habitats in special areas of conservation, and to avoid their deterioration and the significant disturbance of species. The Directive provides for co-financing of conservation measures by the Community.

Member States must also:

  • encourage the management of features of the landscape which are essential for the migration, dispersal and genetic exchange of wild species;
  • establish systems of strict protection for those animal and plant species which are particularly threatened (Annex IV) and study the desirability of reintroducing those species in their territory;
  • prohibit the use of non-selective methods of taking, capturing or killing certain animal and plant species (Annex V).

Every six years, Member States must report on the measures they have taken pursuant to the Directive. The Commission must draw up a summary report on the basis thereof.

The annexes to the Directive were amended to take account of the biodiversity of the countries who acceded to the EU in 2004 and 2007. The enlargement brought new challenges for biodiversity, as well as new elements, including three new biogeographical regions (the Black Sea region, the Pannonian region and the Steppic region).

The Natura 2000 network now represents around 18 % of the EU’s terrestrial territory.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 92/43/EEC

10.6.1992

10.6.1992

OJ L 206 of 22.7.1992

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 97/62/EC

29.11.1997

31.12.1997

OJ L 305 of 8.11.1997

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Directive 2006/105/EC

1.1.2007

1.1.2007

OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

The successive amendments and corrections successive to Directive 92/43/EEC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 13 July 2009 – Report on the Conservation Status of Habitat Types and Species as required under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive [COM(2009) 358 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This report enabled the implementation of the Habitats Directive for the period 2001-2006 in the 25 Member States to be assessed. The report provides an overview of the biodiversity situation in the EU. It also constitutes a clear point of reference for assessing future trends in the status of its most vulnerable species and habitats.
The results show that favourable conservation status has not been achieved for many habitats and species listed under the Habitats Directive. Certain habitat types (in particular, grassland, wetland and coastal zones) have an overall poor status. Signs of recovery have been observed for certain species (for example, the wolf, Eurasian lynx, beaver and otter). However, further efforts are required to establish healthy and sustainable populations.
The Natura 2000 network must continue to develop; restoration measures for certain sites must be provided. The network and sites will then need to be managed effectively and properly resourced.
Lastly, a large number of Member States do not invest sufficient resources in monitoring the status of species and habitats within their territories. In the absence of reliable data it will be impossible to assess the impact of conservation measures.

Biogeographical regions

In line with the “Habitats Directive”, the Commission must, in agreement with the Member States concerned, draw up a list of sites of European importance for each of the nine biogeographical regions.

List of the Alpine region sites
Decision 2011/62/EU [Official Journal L 33 of 8.2.2011].

List of the Atlantic region sites
Decision 2011/63/EU [Official Journal L 33 of 8.2.2011].

List of the Black Sea region sites
Decision 2009/92/EC [Official Journal L 43 of 13.2.2009].

List of the Boreal region sites
Decision 2011/84/EU [Official Journal L 40 of 12.2.2011].

List of the Continental region sites
Decision 2011/64/EU [Official Journal L 33 of 8.2.2011].

List of the Macronesian region sites
Decision 2009/1001/EC [Official Journal L 344 of 23.12.2009].

List of the Mediterranean region sites
Decision 2011/85/EU [Official Journal L 40 of 12.2.2011].

List of the Pannonian region sites
Decision 2011/86/EU [Official Journal L 40 of 12.2.2011].

List of the Steppic region sites
Decision 2008/966/EC [Official Journal L 344 of 20.12.2008].

Financing Natura 2000

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 July 2004 – Financing Natura 2000 [COM(2004) 431– Not published in the Official Journal].
With completion of the Natura 2000 network, the management of designated sites will become the priority measure for protecting biodiversity in the EU. Sufficient funding will be required to ensure that the Natura 2000 network fulfils the objectives that have been set and is adapted to specific local requirements. The Commission considers that the network can bring considerable benefits, both economic (the development of ecosystem services, provision of food and wood products, activities related to the site such as tourism, etc.) and social (more diverse employment opportunities, increased social stability, improved living conditions, safeguarding heritage, etc.). A new Communication on financing Natura 2000 should be adopted by the end of 2011.

Conservation of wild birds

Conservation of wild birds

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conservation of wild birds

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Conservation of wild birds

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds.

Summary

Member States of the European Union (EU) shall take measures to guarantee the conservation and govern the exploitation of wild birds naturally occurring in the European territory in order to maintain their population at a satisfactory level, or to adapt their population to that level.

Protection of habitats

The disappearance or deterioration of habitats represents a threat to the conservation of wild birds. Their protection is therefore essential.

To preserve, maintain or re-establish the biotopes and habitats of birds, Member States shall:

  • designate protected areas;
  • ensure the upkeep and management of habitats in accordance with ecological needs;
  • re-establish destroyed biotopes and create biotopes.

Special protection areas

Member States shall create special protection areas (SPAs) for threatened species of birds and for migratory birds (see Annex I). These areas are to be situated in the birds’ natural area of distribution and may include wintering and nesting grounds or staging posts along migration routes.

Member States shall pay particular attention to wetlands, which are in decline across Europe. They shall also create conditions favourable to the survival or reproduction of the species occurring in special protection areas. To this end, they shall take the necessary steps to avoid pollution or deterioration of habitats or any disturbances affecting the birds. They shall also assess the impact of projects likely to have a significant effect on the designated areas and take appropriate measures to avoid them.

The special protection areas (SPAs), together with the special areas of conservation (SACs) under the “Habitats” Directive (92/43/EEC), form the Natura 2000 European network of protected ecological sites.

Protection of wild birds

This Directive establishes a general system of protection for all species of wild birds occurring in European territory. It prohibits in particular:

  • deliberate destruction or capture of wild birds;
  • destruction of, or damage to, nests;
  • taking or keeping eggs even if empty;
  • practices which deliberately disturb the birds and which jeopardise the conservation of the species;
  • trade in and the keeping of live or dead species the hunting and capture of which are not permitted (this prohibition also applies to any parts or derivatives of a bird).

Under certain conditions, Member States may derogate from the provisions laid down for the protection of wild birds. However, the consequences of such derogations must not be incompatible with the conservation objectives specified in the Directive.

Member States must promote research for the purposes of the management, protection and wise exploitation of the species of wild birds occurring in the European territory (see Annex V).

Hunting

Species whose numbers, distribution and reproductive rate allow may be hunted. However, the practice of hunting must comply with certain principles:

  • the number of birds taken must not jeopardise the maintenance at a satisfactory level of the population of species which may be hunted;
  • species are not to be hunted during periods of breeding or rearing;
  • migratory species are not to be hunted during their return to their breeding grounds;
  • methods for the large-scale or non-selective killing of birds are prohibited (see Annex IV).

The list of species which may be hunted is provided in Annex II (Part A gives the list of species which may be hunted throughout the EU, and Part B the list of species which may be hunted in certain countries only).

Context

This Directive replaces Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 (more commonly known as the “Birds” Directive), which was the oldest EU legislative text relating to nature. However, the modifications made are purely formal. The “Birds” Directive established for the first time a general system for the protection of all species of wild birds naturally occurring in the territory of the Union. It also recognises that wild birds, which include a large number of migratory species, are a shared heritage of the EU Member States and that their conservation, to be effective, requires cooperation on a global scale.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/147/EC

15.2.2010

OJ L 20 of 26.1.2010

Whaling

Whaling

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Whaling

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Management of fisheries resources and the environment

Whaling

Proposal

Proposal of 19 December 2007 for a Council Decision establishing the position to be adopted on behalf of the European Community with regard to proposals for amendments to the Schedule of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.

Communication of 19 December 2007 from the European Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council, on Community action in relation to whaling [COM(2007) 823 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Union (EU) adopted measures to protect cetaceans (whales, dolphins, etc.) against hunting, capture and captivity, and also against deliberate disturbance or trading, including cetacean products originating from third countries.

The protection of cetaceans is provided at European level by several legislative acts and strategies, such as:

  • the Habitats Directive, which established the Natura 2000 network;
  • the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
  • the Strategy for the marine environment;
  • the Regulation on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources;
  • the Regulation on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of these resources in the Mediterranean.

However, whales are migratory and can therefore only be effectively protected if equivalent conservation measures are adopted globally.

Whaling has been globally prohibited since the 1985/1986 season. This moratorium was declared by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), mainly owing to uncertainties in the scientific information on global whale stocks.

The IWC is the competent international organisation regarding the conservation and management of whale stocks and was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling signed in 1946. In November 2011, it has 89 members and the EU has observer status.

There are many exceptions that make it possible for some countries not to comply with the IWC’s moratorium on whaling. For example, Iceland and Norway are not bound by the moratorium because of the objections or reservations they have lodged under the 1946 Convention. In addition, whaling is permitted under special permits granted by national authorities for scientific research purposes. Japan, for instance, carries out “scientific programmes” and can market the meat of the whales captured under these programmes. Lastly, aboriginal subsistence whaling is still authorised.

The IWC’s mandate covers both the management of whaling and the conservation of whales. This dual mandate has led to extremely polarised positions between pro-whaling and anti-whaling states, which is jeopardising international cooperation and hindering progress towards the effective protection of all whale species.

In order to strengthen the position in favour of the protection of whales, the EU invites all Member States that have not yet signed the 1946 Convention to do so. The EU and its Member States will work together with other countries and will strive to convince them to oppose whaling.

The Commission proposes that the Member States present a common position for the EU in the IWC to ensure an effective international regulatory framework for the protection of whales. Based on this position, the Member States should particularly oppose the partial or total lifting of the moratorium on whaling and the broadening of the scope of secret ballots in the IWC. They should also support:

  • the creation of whale sanctuaries;
  • aboriginal subsistence whaling, as long as it does not jeopardise whale stocks;
  • the implementation of globally applicable whaling regulations, particularly as regards whaling for scientific research purposes;
  • proposals which are consistent with the EU’s position in relation to the CITES Convention and other international agreements to which the European Community is a party;
  • activities of the Conservation Committee and proposals to address the conservation concerns on small cetaceans;
  • the collection of scientific data using non-destructive methods that do not harm whales, and research on the conservation of whale populations.

References And Procedure

Proposal Official Journal Procedure

COM(2007) 821

Conservation and management of sharks

Conservation and management of sharks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conservation and management of sharks

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Conservation and management of sharks

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 5 February 2009 on a European Community Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks [COM(2009) 40 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Sharks belong to the family of chondrichthyans or cartilaginous fish, as do skate and chimaera. Chondrichthyans include more than 1000 species which are very different from a morphological point of view. Some of them are almost extinct due to their biological cycle and over-fishing.

Objectives

This Action Plan is based on the 1999 FAO International Plan of action for the conservation and management of sharks (IPOA SHARKS), the objective of which is to guarantee the conservation and management of sharks which had been decimated by the Community fleet.

This Action Plan pursues three specific objectives:

  • to improve knowledge of fisheries and shark species, as well as their role in the ecosystem;
  • to introduce sustainable exploitation of shark stocks and to reduce by-catches;
  • to enhance a coherent approach between the internal and external Community policy for sharks.

Scope

This Action Plan applies to fisheries:

  • located in Community waters;
  • covered by an agreement or partnership between the Community and third countries;
  • located in international waters (high seas);
  • covered by a Regional Fishery Management Organisation (RFMO).

It covers directed commercial fishing, recreational fishing and bycatches of any chondrichthyan.

Guidelines

The Community must develop a gradual strategy to deal with shark-related issues. The development of this strategy is based on scientific data collected under the multi-annual Community programme for data collection pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 199/2008. This programme supplements the assessment of the stocks status carried out by the ICES working group on sharks through 2007-2009.

The conservation of shark species requires that regional cooperation be strengthened, through RFMOs, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The range of the different species is not limited to Community waters. It is for this reason in particular that the Community requests support for the work carried out by the RFMOs, reinforcement of the role of existing RFMOs in fisheries management policy and cooperation in creating new RFMOs in areas which lack them.

Proper management of shark stocks requires an integrated framework of actions. The Community Action Plan is structured in accordance with the FAO shark-plan. It includes a set of measures intended to improve data collection and scientific advice, management and technical measures and a further strengthening of the application of the shark finning ban.

Main actions

The Community Action Plan foresees:

  • increasing investments in shark data collection;
  • establishing systems to provide verification of catch information by species and by fishery;
  • improving the monitoring and reporting of catch, bycatch and discards, as well as market and international trade data;
  • preparing and implementing measures to assist in species identification and monitoring, as called for in the IPAO-SHARKS;
  • facilitating stakeholder awareness-raising and consultation regarding shark management and best practices to reduce by-catches;
  • launching educational programmes aimed specifically at educating the public about chondrichthyan conservation programmes;
  • adapting catches and fishing effort to available resources;
  • limitation or prohibition of fishing activities in areas that are considered sensitive for endangered stocks;
  • prohibiting all shark discards in the medium to long term and requiring that all catches be landed;
  • increasing selectivity in order to reduce by-catches;
  • confirmation of the shark finning ban.

Endangered species of wild fauna and flora

Endangered species of wild fauna and flora

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Endangered species of wild fauna and flora

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Protection of nature and biodiversity

Endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES)

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [See amending acts].

Summary

This Regulation applies in compliance with the objectives, principles and provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It establishes a list of endangered species in four annexes (A, B, C and D). The degree of protection and the nature of commercial measures that apply to the species concerned vary according to the Annex in which the species are listed.

Under this Regulation, common conditions apply to:

  • the issue, use and presentation of documents for the import, export or re-export of specimens of the species covered by the Regulation. Without prejudice to any stricter measures which may be taken by Member States, these documents are valid throughout the Community;
  • the sale or any other commercial transaction of specimens of the species listed in Annex A within the Community.

Introduction into the Community

Importation of specimens of endangered species is subject to:

  • the presentation of an import permit issued by a management authority of the Member State of destination or an import notification; and
  • completion of the necessary checks.

The Commission may at any time impose general import restrictions, or restrictions relating only to certain countries of origin; it publishes a list of such restrictions regularly in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Export or re-export outside the Community

The export or re-export of specimens of endangered species is subject to:

  • the presentation of an export permit or re-export certificate issued by a management authority of the Member State in which the specimens are located; and
  • completion of the necessary checks.

Rejection of requests for permits and certificates

When a Member State rejects an application for a permit or certificate, it immediately informs the Commission which, in turn, will be responsible for informing the other Member States.

Derogations

The Regulation establishes derogations for specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated, for specimens in transit and for specimens forming part of personal and household effects or destined for scientific institutions.

Provisions relating to the control of commercial activities

The purchase of or trade in specimens of species in Annex A is prohibited.

Member States may also prohibit the holding of specimens of species in Annex A.

Movement of live specimens

The movement within the Community of live specimens of a species listed in Annex A is subject to prior authorisation from a management authority of the Member State in which the specimen is located.

The movement within the Community of live specimens of a species listed in Annex B is subject to compliance by the recipient with rules on animal protection (adequate housing and care).

The Commission may at any time impose restrictions on the holding or movement of live specimens of species in respect of which restrictions on introduction into the Community have been established.

Places of introduction and export

Member States must:

  • designate customs offices for carrying out the checks and formalities for the species covered by the Regulation. A list of these offices is published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • designate the management authorities and the scientific authorities responsible for implementation of the Regulation. A list of such authorities is published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • monitor compliance with the provisions of the Regulation and penalise infringements.

Communication of information

The Regulation introduces a system for the exchange of information between the various authorities concerned with the implementation of the Regulation: the Member States, the Commission, the CITES Secretariat, etc.

The Member States draw up annual reports detailing the volume of trade in specimens covered by the Regulation. Every two years, they draw up detailed reports on the implementation and application of the Regulation.

Background

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in Washington on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 January 1975. It currently has 175 parties.

The CITES text was amended in 1983 to allow regional economic integration organisations such as the European Community to become parties to the Convention (Gaborone amendment). However, not enough parties have ratified the amendment for it to enter into force. Accordingly, the Community position at CITES conferences is represented by the EU Member States acting jointly from a position established by the Council.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 338/97

1.3.1997

OJ L 61 of 3.3.1997

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1497/2003

30.8.2003

OJ L 215 of 27.8.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Regulation (EC) No 834/2004

19.5.2004

OJ L 127 of 29.4.2004

Regulation (EC) No 1332/2005

22.8.2005

OJ L 215 of 19.8.2005

Regulation (EC) No 398/2009

10.6.2009

OJ L 126 of 21.5.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 338/97 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

Annex I – List of endangered species
Regulation (EC) No 318/2008 [Official Journal L 95 of 8.4.2008];
Regulation (EC) No 407/2009 [Official Journal L 123 of 19.5.2009];
Regulation (EU) No 709/2010 [Official Journal L 212 of 12.8.2010].

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EU) No 997/2010 of 5 November 2010 suspending the introduction into the Union of specimens of certain species of wild fauna and flora [Official Journal L290 of 6.11.2010].

Implementing measures

Commission Recommendation 2007/425/EC of 13 June 2007 identifying a set of actions for the enforcement of Council Regulation No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [Official Journal L 159 of 20.6.2007].
Member States should take a certain number of measures, including the adoption of national action plans for coordinating the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 338/97, the preparation of dissuasive penalties in cases of infringement of this Regulation, the appropriate provision of agencies responsible for the enforcement of the Regulation in terms of human and financial resources and training, the provision of adequate information to the public, regular checks of traders and holders of flora and fauna such as pet shops, breeders and nurseries, the appointing of national focal points for the exchange of information and intelligence, support for management and control capacity-building programmes in third countries as well as inter-departmental cooperation and exchange of information between Member States and with the appropriate management authorities (such as those of CITES, Interpol and the World Customs Organization).

Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 of 4 May 2006 laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein [Official Journal L 166 of 19.6.2006].
The forms on which import permits, export permits and re-export certificates are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex I to this Regulation. The forms on which import notifications are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex II. Those on which certificates for travelling exhibitions are drawn up must conform to the model in Annex III. The forms on which continuation sheets for personal ownership certificates are drawn up must conform to the model set out in Annex IV. The forms provided for in Articles 5, 8 and 9 must conform to the models set out in Annex V. A model for labels is given in Annex VI. The codes to be included in the description of the specimens and the units of measurement to be used are listed in Annex VII. Annex VIII gives a list of references which can be used to indicate the scientific names of species. The purpose of a transaction and the source of species must be indicated using the codes in Annex IX. In addition, the Regulation lays down provisions on the issue, use and validity of the documents. It also introduces specific provisions on specimens born and bred in captivity or artificially propagated as well as for samples.
See consolidated version