As a member of the European Union, France endorses European regulations on cetacean conservation. Three principal legal frameworks are particularly relevant, the habitat Directive, the Common Fishery Policy and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Under the Habitat Directive, all species of cetaceans are listed in appendix IV relative to protected species and two coastal-dwelling species, the harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, and the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, are listed in appendix II which implies the designation of sites, called Natura 2000 sites, for their protection. At present, the Natura 2000 network covers 40,000 km2 at sea (among other cetaceans, the harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena is reported from 36 sites and the common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus from 61 sites).
Under the Common Fishery Policy, regulation EC/812 of April 26th, 2004, determine how to assess, monitor and mitigate small cetacean by-catch in commercial fisheries. Since 2005, a yearly report is produced and some mitigation strategies are being tested. Target fisheries are those known to generate significant incidental catches of small cetaceans, mostly harbour porpoise (P. phocoena), short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) et common bottlenose dolphins (T. truncatus).
The newly implemented EU marine strategy Framework Directive was adopted by the European Union in June 2008 and will provide the main context in which the French policy for monitoring and protecting cetaceans among others will develop in the future. In particular, marine strategies to be developed by each Member State must contain a detailed assessment of the state of the environment, a definition of "good environmental status" at regional level and the establishment of clear environmental targets and monitoring programs, including of cetacean populations. In this context, marine mammal issues are dealt with mainly under descriptor 1 (biodiversity), and also under descriptors 4 (food web), 10 (marine debris) and 11 (energy and noise) for specific issues.
France is a member country of the European Union, therefore it enforces EU regulations concerning marine mammals and environment.