Exclusive survey: three quarters of European citizens want truly protected marine areas

As the European Parliament is preparing for a crucial vote on the Nature Restoration Law for the week of 10 July, including on a crucial amendment calling to establish truly protected marine areas, BLOOM publishes the results of an exclusive IPSOS poll survey administered to 2,500 Europeans.[1] The survey reveals clear public support for the true protection of marine areas. 

To this day, Europe’s so-called “marine protected areas” (MPAs) remain unprotected. 86% of them are subject to industrial fishing gears that scrape the seabed and destroy ecosystems, such as bottom trawling and demersal seines (also called flyshooting, a method similar to trawling). In France, for example, these MPAs are even less protected than elsewhere: industrial fishing operates almost half the time in these so-called Marine “protected” areas.

In this context of lack of protection for the ocean and the climate, the IPSOS survey reveals that a ban on destructive fishing methods in protected areas is widely supported by European citizens, a majority of whom believe that such common-sense measures have already been implemented (44% of French people, 52% of Germans, 60% of Spaniards, 68% of Italians). 

There is a striking contrast between, on the one hand, European governments that oppose the ban of industrial fishing in so-called MPAs, as the French government did in March 2023, and the 79% of French, German, Spanish, and Italian citizens who are calling for effective protection of 30% of their waters by banning destructive fishing methods, in line with the international standards of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Moreover, 54% of Europeans citizens polled believe that industrial fishing is already banned in MPAs, a concrete illustration of the European political sham regarding marine “protected” areas.

Following the disastrous vote of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, BLOOM takes action and calls on MEPs to adopt an ambitious Nature Restoration Law, and vote in favour of real protection for marine ecosystems and coastal and artisanal fishing. 

It is up to European representatives to take responsibility and respond to the scientific recommendations and their nation’s aspirations to adopt the crucial measures necessary to respond to the current collapse of the climate crisis and biodiversity collapse.

Detailed results of the survey:

Question: “In your opinion, are fishing methods towed over the seabed, such as trawling, currently banned in your country’s marine protected areas? Towed fishing is a method of fishing used at sea that involves dragging a net over the seabed behind a moving boat”. 

  • 44%, 52%, 60%, 68% of surveyed citizens in France, Germany, Spain and Italy respectively wrongly believe that their government already effectively protects their waters, while 42%, 31%, 29%, 23% do not have an opinion about it.
  • The deception of these governments’ public policy on marine protection is therefore very effective in spreading confusion among the general public.

Question: “Are you in favour of your government committing to protect 30% of their territorial waters more strictly, in accordance with the international standards of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), by effectively banning towed fishing methods such as trawling on the seabed?”


While 78% of French, German and Spanish citizens as well as 85% of Italians are in favour of effective protection for their waters, in line with scientific recommendations, only 4% of Spaniards, 3% of French and Germans and 2% of Italians are opposed. A survey in the form of a plebiscite calling on the governments and the European MEPs to adopt measures to protect the marine environment that are up to the challenges.

[1] IPSOS surveys conducted in June 2023 on 1,000 people in France, 500 people in Germany, 500 people in Spain, and 500 people in Italy, representative of national populations using the quota method. Ipsos is one of the world’s largest market research companies, present in 90 markets with a staff of 18,000.

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