The European Union's executive has proposed to ban the use of drift nets in EU waters and on its vessels anywhere by the end of the year to better enforce the protection of dolphins and other sea mammals, sea turtles and bluefin tuna.
Drift nets stretching for miles close to the surface are often responsible for the incidental capture and death of thousands of marine animals that are important to the ecosystem but have little commercial value.
Historically, such nets have also been used in the hunt for endangered bluefin tuna. A total ban on drift nets would make catching cheats easier. The proposal now goes to the 28 member states for approval.
The Pew Charitable Trusts said the proposal showed the EU's "willingness to crack down on the illegal fishing of bluefin tuna".