A super trawler
14 times the size of UK fishing boats is plundering thousands of tonnes of fish from British waters before Brexit, when the Government “may” be able to kick the vessel out.
The 6,200 tonne Lithuanian-registered Margiris vessel was boarded by Government officials on Wednesday and, believe it or not, was found to be operating legally under European laws. However, environmentalists fear it could be endangering short beaked common dolphins and bluefin tuna.
The ship, described as a vast floating fishing factory which can net and process 250 tonnes of fish each day, has been the target of a series of campaigns culminating in it being banned from Australian waters in 2013. Margiris, like other super trawlers, has state-of-the-art echo sounders, sonar systems, radar and GPS. As the Independent Australia wrote in 2013 “You could put the whole of our Coastguard, Customs, Navy, Air Force and Army on her decks”.
Why is this so important, you might ask?
Because on Friday night it was 14 miles off the Sussex coastline having spent one week fishing in British waters. While it is fishing mackerel to be sold to Africa, it is believed to be operating in breedings waters for sea bass, which is already overfished. The ship, which is 465ft long with a net 1,950ft in length and 650ft wide, dwarfs most UK fishing boats.
Under the common fisheries policy set out by the European Commission, each EU country is given a quota of fish it can catch in European waters. Each country then divides that quota between vessels, allocating set catch sizes along with documentation in the event of an inspection. A spokesman for the Marine Management Organisation, the government agency responsible for enforcing fishing regulations in UK waters, said it boarded the boat on Wednesday, adding “No infringements of fishing regulations were found”.
The Margiris, part of a larger ‘freezer fleet’, is owned by the Dutch company Parlevliet & Van der Plas which has 6,000 employees and offices around the world. A company spokesman said it was behaving perfectly legally in “European waters”, denied its fishing techniques threatened endangered species and had trawled in the area for the last 30 years.
He added “We fish until Brexit has happened. God knows when that is. But, we always respect the law”. In the event of Britain leaving the European Union, the UK will have greater control over fishing in its waters. A government source said “On October 31 we will become an independent coastal state. This means that for the first time in more than 40 years, we will be able to decide who can fish in our waters and on what terms.”
She added “Those new powers will apply 200 nautical miles off the British coast, or the median line between our shores and those of any neighbouring country. Any access to UK waters will be a matter for negotiation” she said. The hell they will!
Is it true
that just like Heath et al back in the day giving away our fishing rights to de Gaulle, Johnson is now agreeing that “During the transition the EU would be free to impose detrimental rules to cull what’s left of Britain’s fleet? With every reason to do so as under international law as we’d no longer officially be a member but an ‘independent’ nation, just one that happened to be an EU vassal state satellite obeying their every rule?”
Fishing for Leave claims “The UK could still get 90 percent of North Sea haddocks the fleet is critically dependent on, but the EU could cut the quota tonnage to ribbons. Ninety percent of zero tons equates to zero tons! Effectively after 3.5 years of having re-obeyed the CFP in entirety with no say where British fishing could be pummelled, we would then migrate onto a Future Relationship which isn’t “the” CFP but would be a form of “a” CFP, that effectively we are being set up to be ensnared in associate CFP membership. This is not conjecture. This is the factual legal text and consequences of the new Withdrawal Treaty that Britain is potentially inches from being ensnared into”.