EU supertrawlers plunder UK ‘protected’ water, leaving destruction behind | United Kingdom | News
The fishermen’s association (NUFTA) has declared a state of emergency in the English Channel and the southern North Sea. The group urges the government to ban supertrawlers, which are all EU-owned, and continue to deplete Britain’s fish populations at a rapid and destructive rate.
The group, made up of anglers, anglers, charter skippers and fishing companies, is campaigning to ban super trawlers, bottom trawlers and fly shooters from all marine protected areas just offshore of the Channel.
No less than 23 of the huge vessels over 100 meters, including many Russian and Dutch owners, operated in British waters in 2020.
Environmental lobby group Greenpeace said supertrawlers spend thousands of hours fishing in UK waters every year, including in protected areas. This increased by 1000% between 2017 and 2020.
Jerry Percy, director of the New Under 10s Fishermen’s Association, said the small local fleet of British fishermen who ‘the government has sworn to protect’ are now ‘forced to see their present and future livelihoods destroyed before their eyes’ .
As well as depriving local fishermen of livelihoods, he said powerful EU pelagic trawlers were reducing the resilience of fish stocks in the Channel and threatening dolphin and porpoise populations.”
Chris Thorne, a Greenpeace campaigner, said: “It’s very clear; our fishing communities are at breaking point. They will not survive much longer without urgent government action.
It comes just after the Dutch supertrawler FV Margiris, the second largest active trawler, deposited 100,000 fish in the Atlantic Ocean near France.
The spill, which occurred on Thursday, is believed to have been caused by a broken trawler net.
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Shocking images have circulated online showing a floating mat of fish carcasses on the surface of the ocean.
The controversial vessel Margiris, which is banned from Australia, spent 90 hours fishing in marine protected areas just offshore near Brighton and Portsmouth in 2019.
The NUFTA group, with the help of Greenpeace, is lobbying the government to protect at least 30% of our oceans by 2030.
Mr Thorne added: “We hope that by coming together to fight for the same, our government will finally begin to take practical steps to achieve this goal.
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“If these demands are ignored, it is clear that ministers are siding with the multinational fishing corporations that are destroying our oceans, instead of the local fishermen who are the backbone of our coastal communities.”
An investigation, led by Greenpeace, has revealed that the Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations (NFFO) is lobbying against the banning of supertrawlers in UK marine protected areas.
The NFFO group is made up of European fishing companies.
In a joint statement from local fishermen, Greenpeace and environmental groups, they implore the government to act “with an urgency that mirrors the state of emergency” facing fishermen along the southern and eastern coasts of the England.
Greenpeace said: “These measures would increase catches by local fishermen, revive coastal communities and provide space for marine ecosystems and fish populations to recover from years of devastation by industrial fishing.”