Home Brexit Brexit brings opportunity to ban EU supertrawlers fishing in UK waters

Brexit brings opportunity to ban EU supertrawlers fishing in UK waters

by LLB Reporter
7th Mar 20 2:13 pm

Brexit is a “perfect opportunity” to take back control of British waters and oust factory sized “monster” EU supertrawlers for good, campaigners say.

The controversial supertrawlers are hundreds of feet long and literally vacuum enormous quantities of fish daily, affecting UK fishermen’s livelihoods.

In 2019 there was outcry over the supertrawler Margiris, a 465ft boat once considered the second largest in the world fishing in the English Channel catching hundreds of tonnes of British fish.

Environmentalists fear their presence in British waters, which can be for weeks at a time is correlating with huge numbers of dolphins being washed up dead on beaches in the UK.

John Hourston, from the Blue Planet Society, told the PA news agency: “It’s just been a long stream of dolphin deaths, I have never seen anything quite like it.

“We have had several storms, but dolphins do not die because of weather, they are great swimmers.”

He added: “We have just got mass dolphin die-offs and mass fishing fleets and the two correlates, but we need more evidence.”

Hourston said post Brexit is the “perfect opportunity to set the gold standard for environmental stewardship of the sea.”

He added, “I am not talking about the inshore fishermen, I am talking about the industrial supertrawler fleets.

“We should not be allowing supertrawlers in British waters.”A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said, “As an independent coastal state, we will have the right to decide who fishes in our waters and on what terms.

“This means we can design our own domestic fishing policy, one that supports our coastal communities and lets the UK lead the way on sustainable fishing.”

Under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) EU registered vessels are legally entitled to fish in UK waters, subject to licence conditions, quota allocation and relevant fishing restrictions.

The Defra spokesman added, “The Marine Management Organisation continues to inspect large trawlers in English waters, but no infringements have been found.”

Clive Fennell, who lives in the seaside town of Littlehampton in West Sussex and runs the Littlehampton Environment and Places Facebook page, is calling on the government to ban the supertrawlers.

He told PA that the boats act like a “vacuum cleaner,” he added, “We need a sustainable way of fishing.

“Ideally I think they would ban them but if it is part of a deal then they should have Defra or Royal Navy or whoever on them monitoring them 24 hours a day to make sure they do adhere to the rules.”

Chris Thorne, Greenpeace oceans campaigner said, “Our government likes to boast about its credentials as a global oceans champion, but what about protecting our seas here at home?

“Ministers should take a long, hard look at whether allowing supertrawlers to operate in UK waters is compatible with sustainable management of our waters, as well as investigating the impact of the UK’s industrial distant water fleet in other countries’ waters.”

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