Here we go again! Fury as EU supertrawler caught ‘plundering’ waters: ‘How Brussels works’

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Despite the EU pledging to protect the environment, the Dutch-owned and Lithuanian-flagged Margiris, has been found hoovering up stocks off the coast of Mauritania. In yet another example of the damaging use of supertrawlers by EU states, campaigners and Brexiteers have criticised Brussels for jeopardising the environment and those who depend on it. Speaking to, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib, claimed the incident is yet another example of the EU’s pursuit to extract maximum gains from commodities despite the damage it may cause.

Mr Habib, who has long criticised the EU’s use of supertrawlers, said: “To those of us interested in how the EU actually works, it is no surprise their industrial fishing vessels are plundering the seas off the west coast of Africa.

“These same vessels have been plundering British waters for decades.

“They do not care for sustaining this hugely valuable resource.

“They treat it as any other commodity – to be used to the maximum extent possible for the benefit of the EU.

“Their approach is as short-sighted as it is damaging. They are obviously depleting a valuable natural resource that should rightfully be for the benefit of the people of Africa.

“In the years to come fish stocks will not recover and the peoples of both Africa and the EU will be the worse off for it.”

The Margiris, which is owned by Dutch company Parlevliet van der Plas, has been caught fishing in protected UK waters in the past.

The mammoth supertrawler has also been banned from Australia’s waters due to environmental concerns to the local ecosystem.

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Mr Habib added: “The EU behaves like an invading imperial power of ancient times, caring not one jot about the damage caused in the pursuit of its own narrow immediate interests.

“If the British government is serious about the environment it should step up to the plate and stop the EU behaving this way.

“A good place to start would be in our own territorial waters which are still being destroyed by the EU.”

Despite leaving the EU, the Government cannot ban supertrawlers from Britain’s waters, claiming instead, it can only legislate against the fish they catch.


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Due to an agreement between Mauritania and the EU, the Margiris is also allowed to plunder stocks off the coats of the state, although Greenpeace insisted supertrawlers must be banned in all waters due to the catastrophic damage they cause.

Dr Aliou Ba, political advisor at Greenpeace Africa, said: “The environmental damage that overfishing is causing to fish stocks and biodiversity is immense.

“The Margaris uses a net larger than a soccer field and has a storage capacity of 6000 tons.

“This vessel is a real ‘monster’ and a threat to already overfished pelagic resources.”

The vessel is a colossal 142 metres long and can catch and process large piles of fish each day as it goes about using its vast net in precious waters.

Such is the devastating extent of the practice, campaigners fear for the current state of local ecosystems, which includes species which are already overfished.

Without a suitable sustainable agreement, campaigners fear the fish stocks will never recover, and in turn, will jeopardise local communities who rely on them.

Chris Thorne, an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, concluded: “We’ve caught the Margiris fishing in protected areas all around the UK in recent years, hoovering up unimaginably vast quantities of fish, threatening local livelihoods and the health of our seas.

“This destructive floating fish factory absolutely should not be threatening the food security of millions of people in West Africa, and it should have no place in any of the UK’s protected areas.”

Tory MPs are pressuring the Government to bring in a ban for supertrawlers within marine protected waters.

Indeed, following the vessel’s stay in UK waters last year, its parent company claimed they respect the law.

The Dutch company also insisted any fishing conducted was within catch levels and has infringed no rules.

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