Photos of dumped catches Shock European fisheries regulators
Environmental group Sea Shepherd has obtained aerial footage of a large-scale dumping of dead fish off the coast of France, drawing the attention of the public and regulators.
The Sea Shepherd patrol boat union age operates in the Bay of Biscay off La Rochelle, monitoring four factory trawlers to collect evidence of dolphin bycatch. During her last patrol, the ship observed a release of thousands of blue whiting into the ocean. This catch came from Margiristhe second largest trawler in the world.
Sea Shepherd claimed the fish had been illegally dumped overboard, but the Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association (PFA) – which represents Margulis‘ operator – told media the release was an accidental ‘fishing incident’ involving a broken net.
“We would like to point out that around 05:50 on February 3, 2022, a quantity of blue whiting was involuntarily released into the sea from the Margiris vessel, due to a break in the codend of its net. Such an accident is a rare occurrence and in this case was caused by the surprisingly large size of the fish caught,” the PFA said in a media statement.
This is what is happening right now in the Bay of Biscay off La Rochelle. Four factory ships operate in the area, including the Margiris, the second largest trawler in the world (banned in Australia). pic.twitter.com/nA64Fm7VlC
— Sea Shepherd France (@SeaShepherdFran) February 3, 2022
Regulators in France and the EU are asking for more information.
“At the sight of the images shared by [Sea Shepherd France], I asked the National Fisheries Observatory to shed light on this subject in order to identify the cause of these fish discards. Of course, these images are shocking,” said French Minister for the Sea Annick Girardin. “France supports sustainable fishing and that is not reflected here. In the event of an infringement, sanctions would be taken against the responsible shipowner who will be identified.
Virginijus Sinkevišius, EU commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries, said in a statement that his office was gathering “comprehensive information and evidence” on the release.
February 6, Margiris left the fishing grounds and headed for Falmouth, England, outside the European Union. There, she has an appointment with another trawler operated by the same company, the Alinathen left again, according to Sea Shepherd.