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They offered to swim with dolphins for 300 euros: three Côte d'Azur companies sentenced


These companies offered for about 300 euros to spend a day at sea to swim with cetaceans, spotted by a microlight. A practice i

Very lucrative outings that justice was able to stop, after the launch of a petition asking for their cessation.

Three companies on the Côte d'Azur which offered to swim with dolphins in the Mediterranean, an activity now prohibited, were fined on Thursday for "disturbance of a protected species" but will be able to recover their seized boats, it has been said. learned from the civil party.

For 300 euros per person for a day, these companies based in Mandelieu-la-Napoule and Antibes, in the Alpes-Maritimes, offered to jump into the water, in the open sea, with mask and snorkel, in the middle of cetaceans previously spotted using a microlight.

However, since a ministerial decree of 2021, it is forbidden in France to approach within 100 m of a dolphin and even more to swim with this animal.

The three operators, who appeared on December 14 before the Grasse criminal court, were found guilty on Thursday of "disturbance of a protected non-domesticated animal species" and "deceptive commercial practice".

In detail, Thierry Pourrère and his company based in Mandelieu-la-Napoule were fined 13,500 euros and Jean-Christophe Cane and his company based in Antibes were fined 8,700 euros.

Martial Frémont, now retired, will have to pay him a fine of 4,500 euros.

Dolphins came to meet boats, manager says

The court did not follow the requisitions of the prosecution who had also demanded a three-month suspended prison sentence against each of the defendants as well as the confiscation of the boats which had been seized since the summer.

Operators still in activity will therefore be able to return to sea to offer other authorized activities.

The France Nature Environnement association at the origin of the complaint and which had brought a civil action obtained 4,500 euros in damages.

“We are satisfied with this decision.

It is a deliberation that meets our expectations, ”reacted Isabelle Vergnoux, lawyer for the FNE.

"We just wanted the law to be enforced and for it to be recognized that you can't get closer than 100m to the dolphins so as not to disturb them."

Read alsoSwimming with dolphins: should these activities be prohibited?

During the hearing in December Martial Frémont defended himself by explaining that “it is not the boats that come to the dolphins, but the dolphins which have always come to meet the boats”.

"I have a hard time hearing that, when we know that these companies use a plane to spot the dolphins," retorted Me Vergnoux.

Most of the 21 species of cetaceans that live in the Mediterranean are classified as "endangered", according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in particular due to encounters with overly enterprising tourists or collisions with ships.

Source: leparis

All life articles on 2023-01-26

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