Stockholm May 8 2009
To the Halland County Administrative Board
Att: AnnaKarin Sandholm
301 86 HALMSTAD
Greenpeace submission re: the national authorities’ formal responses in case no 511-3917-09
Sweden is obliged to maintain or restore the favorable conservation status of the Natura 2000 sites Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund and all other Natura 2000 sites. The government has so far remained passive despite the fact that the deadline for establishing a fully implemented protection regime expires in December next year and Sweden will at that point violate EU legislation. Greenpeace is therefore considering filing a formal complaint to the European Commission to explore if infringement procedures should be pursued in the Court of Justice if adequate protection is not implemented in time.
Sweden must now start to live up to its responsibility and establish legal protection for Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund, since it is not Greenpeace responsibility to carry out the work of the authorities. The Swedish government claims that protecting the marine environment is a priority which may be questioned when not even the EU’s minimum requirements of measures in marine Natura 2000 sites are met. In the case of marine areas with fishing restrictions, Sweden is still decades behind countries such as Egypt, Venezuela and Indonesia. The government should immediately conduct a national work plan of the marine Natura 2000 sites in order to submit a single application to the EU-Commission requesting fisheries restrictions in Natura 2000 sites. Restrictions need to be introduced in order to achieve favorable conservation status for habitats and species in marine Natura 2000 sites.
Until Swedish politicians have lived up to their responsibility establishing a permanent ban on fishing in the sites, it may be necessary for Greenpeace to take the necessary conservation measure establishing physical protection in accordance with the exception of the Environmental Code seventh chapter (Chapter 7, § 28 a, second paragraph. Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC article 6.3).
During Sweden’s upcoming EU Presidency Andreas Carlgren and Eskil Erlandsson should vigorously pursue the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy that is now underway. In this context Sweden must clearly emphasize the need for an integrated ocean management solving the conflict between conservation interests and fisheries policy. Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund with all the legal ambiguities and the complicated processes necessary to protect them are clear examples of the lack of a coherent ocean management based on the ecosystem approach. Until Swedish policy makers have lived up to their responsibility, it may be necessary for Greenpeace to take conservation measures to achieve conservation objectives. We note that this measure does not require a license.