Bay of Biscay: the trawler which rejected tens of thousands of fish would have been the victim of a “fishing incident”

On the same subject

Bay of Biscay: Sea Shepherd on the trail of a hecatomb of fish

In its fight to ban winter fishing in the Bay of Biscay and protect dolphins, Sea Shepherd published this Thursday, February 3, images of a school of dead fish 300 kilometers off La Rochelle. A carnage that the NGO attributes to one of the four factory ships it tracks at sea, one of which sailed from the Netherlands on January 28

Thursday evening, in a press release, the Association of pelagic freezer trawlers (the PFA – Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association), indicates that one of its member vessels, the “Margiris” alerted the authorities to report an incident: “Done extremely rare, the trawl containing blue whiting – a species subject to quotas – accidentally broke, thus involuntarily releasing fish into the sea.

“These images are shocking”

The NGO Sea Shepherd, when it revealed the facts, denounced for its part the rejection of “incidental catches of fish which do not interest them because they are juveniles, or because it is not the species that they target, or because they are out of quota”. Although it noted the presence of the “Margiris”, “the second largest trawler in the world (banned in Australia)”, it did not however specify whether the whiting came from this vessel or from one of the three others located at that time. there in the area.

Defenders of the oceans have challenged the Minister of the Sea. “Of course, these images are shocking”, reacted Annick Girardin on Twitter on Thursday. It indicates that it has contacted the National Fisheries Monitoring Center “in order to identify the causes of these significant discards of fish”: “France defends sustainable fishing and this is not a reflection of it. If an infraction were to be proven, sanctions would be taken. »

These fish will of course be removed from the vessel’s quota. It’s not enough, we won’t stop there, it goes exactly against the Sustainable Fisheries Action Plan

Traveling to Ciboure (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) this Friday, February 4 to meet local professionals in the fishing industry, she confirmed the implementation of investigations to clarify the circumstances: “I immediately requested an administrative investigation. The boat identified itself at the end of the race and recognized the accident on board. According to the shipowner, it was a net that dropped. The accident was indeed declared in the logbook. These fish will of course be removed from the vessel’s quota. This is not enough, we will not stop there, it goes exactly against the Action Plan for Sustainable Fisheries that we are currently carrying out. »

Europe gets involved

The PFA confirms these steps: “The event as well as the quantities caught were recorded in the vessel’s logbook and reported to the Lithuanian authorities, the vessel’s country of registration. It also specifies that the quantities lost have been recorded in the “log book” (the catch book) and that they will be deducted from the legal quotas allocated to the vessel.

Sea Shepherd estimates the number of dead whiting at 100,000. The “Margiris”, the second largest trawler in the world, is capable of handling 250 tonnes of fish daily.

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