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Parliamentary questions
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15 September 2015
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-010223/2015

The Commission is aware of the annual hunting of Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas) in the Faroe Islands.

The Commission is committed to the protection of all cetaceans and would like to recall that within the EU, the capture or killing of cetaceans is prohibited under the Habitats Directive(1). The sale or exchange of cetaceans is also prohibited according to the same Directive. In addition, the introduction of cetaceans into the Community for primarily commercial purpose is banned, pursuant to Council Regulation 338/97/EC on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein(2), which implements the provisions of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in the EU.

The Faroe Islands are however not part of the EU. EU legislation and policy do therefore not apply there. Moreover, while Denmark is a member of the Bern Convention, in its instrument of ratification it made a declaration stating that the Convention does not apply to Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Whereas whales are protected under the International Whaling Commission (IWC) the hunting of Pilot whales is not regulated by this Convention.

Accordingly, the Commission has limited possibilities to intervene directly in this case. The Commission will, however, continue to take advantage of all available opportunities to raise this sensitive issue with the relevant authorities.

(1)OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.
(2)OJ L 601, 3.3.1997.

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