Brexit fishing fury: a trio of “illegal and dangerous” French vessels caught in British waters | United Kingdom | New
The environmental lobby group challenged two of the ships as part of Operation Witness, an ongoing mission to challenge ships operating in specially designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the UK coast. French-flagged bottom trawlers, the VF Atlas, which operated in the MPA off Brighton, and the Glorieuse Immaculee, which operated in the MPAs of Offshore Overfalls and Bassurella Sandbank, were contacted by activists from the vessel. of Greenpeace, the Sea Beaver, and agreed to stop.
Bottom trawling is a type of fishing in which a massive net is dragged along the seabed, which critics accuse of causing significant damage to the underwater environment.
The crews of both ships said they were unaware of the existence of MPAs.
In addition, the Glorieuse Immaculée operated with its AIS satellite in flight, which poses a threat to other seafarers and is prohibited by maritime law.
Last year, Greenpeace documented and reported 11 vessels fishing with an AIS in the Dogger Bank.
Fiona Nicholls, Greenpeace UK ocean activist, said: ‘Not only do we continue to catch destructive fishing vessels damaging our protected areas, but we also continue to catch them fishing with their satellite tracking systems turned off. .
“It’s illegal and dangerous for all other seafarers.
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“We must ban bottom trawlers and superchalts from all of our protected areas to strengthen the protection of the oceans.
Greenpeace activists also protested against the Tourmalet, a French-flagged industrial fly-hunting vessel that fished at Offshore Overfalls and Bassurelle Sandbank.
Fly shooting is a destructive form of fishing that damages the seabed and has recently reappeared in British waters.
The Offshore Brighton, Offshore Overfalls and Bassurelle Sandbank protected areas all exist to protect the seabed.
Bottom trawlers spent 68,000 hours fishing in UK protected areas in 2020 alone, according to Greenpeace analysis.
A Greenpeace spokesperson said: “Greenpeace has repeatedly reported to the MMO incidents of AIS moon fishing in protected areas in the UK.
“Despite this, the MMO has never tracked or prosecuted this illegal activity.
“Greenpeace calls on the government to ban bottom trawlers, superchaluts and fly throwers from all MPAs in the UK to help protect the oceans.”
Last week, Greenpeace followed the Willem van der Zwaan, a huge Dutch-flagged trawler, through the AMP Offshore Overfalls to prevent it from sucking up fish stocks.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the possibility of a ban on “vacuum trawlers”.
Express.co.uk has reached out to Defra for comment on the latest incidents and government policy in general.