European Rivers Network & the SalmonComeback Coalition files EU complaint against France


European Rivers Network files EU complaint against France in the name of the Salmoncomeback-Coalition.

extract : The French River Basin Management Plan and the Programme of Measures for the Rhine-Meuse River Basin District is breaching the WFD (Directive 2000/60/EC) in following cases:

1. The reasons for postponing the achievement of the environmental objectives, the Good Ecological Potential (GEP) for the water body CR2, according to WFD Art. 4.4(a) are not specifically set out and explained as required by WFD Article 4.4(b). No information regarding (4.4(a)(i)) technical feasibility or (4.4(a)(iii)) natural conditions is provided. Regarding conditions 4.4(a)(ii) disproportionate costs, France has provided statements suggesting that the costs of the measures to reach GEP, namely improving and building fish passes at several dams, are disproportionate but has failed to provide a study so far.

2. A summary of measures, which are envisaged to progressively bring the water body CR2 to the required status, Good Ecological Potential, by the extended deadline is not presented as required by WFD Article 4.4(d). In case it is argued that the obligation is fulfilled by referring to measures mentioned in the plan for migrating fish 2016-2021, accompanying the River Basin Management Plan, those measures would not comply with the definition of the Good Ecological Potential as set out in Annex V 1.2.5. of the WFD.

The decree from 27 July 2015 (Arrêté du 27 juillet 2015 modifiant l’arrêté du 25 janvier 2010 relatif aux méthodes et critères d’évaluation de l’état écologique, de l’état chimique et du potentiel écologique des eaux de surface pris en application des articles R. 212-10, R. 212-11 et R. 212-18 du code de l’environnement), which prescribes the approach to be used in determining the status of the biological quality element fish fauna, breaches the basic requirements of the WFD by excluding migratory fish as a core element of the assessment. Migratory fish are a necessary element to determine the reference, Maximum Ecological Potential, and subsequently to set the GEP.

……  With its measures and actions France is not only breaking EU law, but risks undermining the work under the International Convention for the Protection of the Rhine to which France is a contracting party….


Visit to the fish passes on the Rhine

From Thursday 30 November to Friday 1 December, the ERN team travelled down the Rhine to see the progress of the fish passes under construction