The Super-trawler in the English Channel and the developing commentaries (see below) and illustrations have been a stark reminder to a much wider audience about the scale of modern industrial fishing.

This note highlights:

  • The sheer size of these super trawlers that simply dwarf any ‘traditional’ trawler.
  • The legality of the quota allocation via the CFP and its scale
  • The ownership of the vessels
  • The issues of ‘taking back control’
  • The lack of full time observers to monitor bycatch – which apparently they don’t have!
  • Defra have responded to the Greenpeace story about fishing in the MCZ
  • Just how far modern industrial fisheries are from the homely picture of small scale fishing we often sold.

The following commentaries have recently appeared:

Oceanographic Magazine: ‘Greenpeace UK has discovered through analysis that the super-trawler Margiris was fishing in an English Channel Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), which was designated by the government in 2016. UK law enforcement boarded the Margiris soon after arriving in the Channel, finding no evidence of illegal activity.

Greenpeace UK wrote in a statement regarding the activity: “This is permitted under the Marine Conservation Zone’s management plan, which commits to ensuring the ‘subtidal coarse sediments, subtidal mixed sediments, subtidal sand’ marine habitats ‘remain in a favourable condition’. However, no specific management measures have been put in place since it was designated in 2016.” Click here to read more

Angling Trust Director and editor of Saltwater Boat Angling magazine, Tim Macpherson, comments on the presence of the controversial super trawler Margiris (above), fishing in the English Channel.

There has been a lot of noise over social media, and elsewhere, about a super trawler, the Margiris, which has been operating in the Channel in recent weeks.

It was first picked up by an eagle-eyed observer who spotted it on publicly available AIS (Automatic Identification System for boats) tracking web sites.

This massive boat is about 15 miles off Worthing trawling around, presumably fishing for mackerel. It is huge. 150m long and a dead weight of 6200 tonnes. Not far away from it is the Annie Helina, a Belgian factory trawler of a similar size which is also working the area very hard. For anyone who has an interest in sea angling, fisheries and fish conservation, or is engaged in inshore fishing seeing these monsters hoovering up vast quantities of fish day after day is heart breaking. No wonder, we all think, fish stocks in the English Channel are so depleted.

I’ve had calls and emails, and seen Facebook posts, from all sorts of people from local inshore commercial fishermen to concerned boat anglers and conservationists. The common theme is “how can we allow such large-scale fishing to happen?” Many blame the EU, without reason it has to be said, but they are EU flagged vessels owned and run from Dutch or Belgian based commercial fishing organisations.

Click here to read more

Blue Planet Society are monitoring these and other fishing vessels: Click here to follow

Metro ‘Environmental concerns have been raised after a ‘monster’ super-trawler  was spotted off the south coast of England. The Lithuanian-registered Margiris fishing boat – once considered the second largest fishing boat in the world – was banned from fishing in Australian waters in 2013. Now the controversial boat, which has a deadweight of 6,200 tonnes, has been spotted off the coast of Sussex and Portsmouth over the last several days, according to MarineTraffic. The 142-metre long Margiris is owned by Dutch company Parlevliet van der Plas, which says it has an ‘excellent reputation for sustainable fishing’. A spokesman for the Blue Planet Society said: ‘The capacity of these trawlers is equivalent to dozens of small-scale fishing vessels, and sustainable small-scale fisheries cannot compete with industrial super-trawlers.’ Read More   It of course begs the question of the sort of fisheries we want … and whether we will have any control over these.

Jerry Percy on twitter commentedGarrett Hardin amended the title to “the unmanaged tragedy of the commons” which is more relevant in a fisheries sense in my opinion. There is certainly little effective management of these vessels and the very least that the UK should insist on is having observers on these huge vessels.’

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