EU accused of land grabbing by fishermen as they increase use of ‘destructive’ fly-shooting boats in UK waters
The EU has been accused of ‘land grabbing’ by fishing groups because it has dramatically increased the number of ‘fly-hauling’ boats in UK waters.
Fly shooting is a controversial fishing method in which multiple nets are used to encircle and capture entire schools of fish, and heavy ropes drag across the ocean floor, displacing anything below.
There were originally only a handful of fly shooters in our waters, but now there are 75 high powered boats that use the method in UK waters to pick up bass and mullet.
New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association president Jeremy Percy told Fishing Daily: “According to French coastal fishermen, it is a waste of time to go to sea after these boats fish locally because there is no nothing left. “
Fly shooting has been compared to pulse fishing, which was banned by the UK after we left the EU. This method has decimated fish stocks by triggering electrical impulses in the ocean.
These boats have been cleared by the Marine Management Organization, which says it will monitor the situation to see if there are any impacts on fish stocks.
In a letter to Defra, the fishermen said this was not acceptable. They wrote: “We are concerned about the marked increase in the presence of very large and powerful fly shooters, which are increasingly present in our western waters.
“We have received an increasing number of calls over the past two years regarding the fishing effort and impacts of these vessels in the Eastern Channel, in particular with regard to over-quota stocks. It seems from our perspective that their presence in the western waters is somewhat of the marine equivalent of a land grab and this has not been helped by the lack of reported data on the number of vessels using this method of fishing and their catches, whether in the past or present. “
They called for the licenses to be revised, stressing that the new Fisheries Act gives the UK the power to provide or deny access to our waters on the basis of the social and economic benefits of individual vessel operations for our own coastal communities.
Mr Percy added: ‘The UK’s under-ten fleet has been hanging on with their fingertips for years, increasingly reliant on less and less species, confined by everyone, to the EU fleet stationed on our 6 mile line to increasing coastal MPA calls, licenses capped, repeatedly broken promises of fair allocation of quotas, a draconian licensing regime and even more restrictions on the few species that we are allowed to capture.
“Yet a fleet of high-impact foreign vessels that provide virtually no social, economic or environmental benefit to our coastal communities are allowed to fish our waters while the powers that be decide on longer-term access. comes to mind. “