Home Brexit Scotland told to ‘do something’ over Russian supertrawlers fishing in UK waters

Scotland told to ‘do something’ over Russian supertrawlers fishing in UK waters

14th May 20 11:01 am

Furious fishermen have told Scotland to “do something” as Russian flagged and owned supertrawlers are hoovering up vast fishing stocks.

Jeremy Percy, chairman of the New Under Tens Fishing Association (NUFTA) has said that the Scottish government must take action.

Furthermore, the British government also need to stick to their promise to “take back control” after Brexit warning foreign vessels from entering UK waters to protect our fisheries.

On Wednesday Greenpeace said the Russian supertrawlers were seen in Special Area of Conservation (SAC), known as the Wyville-Thomson Ridge, catching blue whiting.

Also, Dutch supertrawlers have also been tracked fishing in UK waters igniting a furious row amongst UK fishermen.

In a bizarre statement, a Scottish government spokeswoman said the Russian vessels are “legitimately operating in shared waters,” despite the SAC being an EU protected zone.

Percy said, “According to the last comment I had from the MMO, they are not doing any physical inspections of foreign vessels in our waters due to the virus threat but are keeping an eye on them.

“Bearing in mind the massive impact that these supertrawlers can have in a very short time, ‘keeping an eye on them’ just doesn’t cut it.

“I hope that the recent relaxation of some aspects of the Covid-19 lockdown also means that our fisheries patrols can now once more get on board these behemoths.

“We can also only hope that the Scottish government’s comment actually now means that they can get aboard and undertake effective policing of these vessels rather than just ‘keep an eye on them’!”

Percy also said that 22 other fishing vessels from Iceland and Faroe Islands were seen in the same area and hit out at the government.

The chairman of the fishing association said, “With Brexit looming and the UK government repeatedly claiming that ‘we are going to take back control of our waters’, an argument for continued access made by many EU and other states is that they have historic rights under the Law of the Sea and can therefore retain fishing rights in our seas even after Brexit.

“These vessels are obviously seeking to underline their supposed rights by fishing right up to Brexit day.”

Oceans Campaigner Chris Thorne said, “They drag vast nets, up to a mile long, in their wake hoovering up fish and other marine life and disturbing the entire water column.

“If the UK government wants to be taken seriously as a world leader in marine protection, it must do more to restrict and regulate the activities of the international supertrawler fleet, and support small scale, sustainable fishing communities.”

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