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Supertrawlers are boats more than 100 metres in length and can catch hundreds of tonnes of fish every day. The large vessels, with fishing nets up to a mile-long, have access to British waters under the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which the UK remains part of during the post-Brexit transition period.
Fishing remains a huge stumbling block in negotiations with the EU with Brussels insisting on maintaining access to UK waters and a level playing field on trade.
A poll of more than 15,000 Express.co.uk readers has found nine-in-ten believe supertrawlers should be banned from British territories.
The survey conducted on Thursday June 18 between 10am and 8pm asked 15,653 Express.co.uk readers “Should European supertrawlers be banned from British waters?”
A huge 97 percent (15,213) of readers think they should be banned and voted yes.
Just two percent (387) of participants thought they should not be banned and voted no.
Meanwhile one percent (53) remained unsure and voted don’t know.
A number of Express.co.uk readers let their opinions known in the comments section.
One user said: “They have plundered our waters for 45 years, time to stop.”
A second reader wrote: “Give OUR fisherman their living back!! Keep other trawlers out.”
Several other users went further and said supertrawlers should be banned around the world.
Another user said: “All super trawlers should be banned everywhere, they destroy fish stocks and eventually that puts up the price of fish. Short term gain and long term pain!”
Meanwhile a fourth commented: “Never mind banning them from UK waters. they should be banned altogether. From the whole world. Everywhere.”
An investigation by environmental group Greenpeace found 25 trawlers over 100 metres spent 2,963 hours fishing in UK marine protected areas (MPAs) in 2019.
None of the 25 supertrawlers were British-owned, with 15 Russian, nine Dutch and one Polish.
Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Chris Throne has called for a complete ban on fishing on an industrial scale following post-Brexit talks.
He said Brexit is a “historic opportunity to introduce genuinely world-leading marine protection standards in our offshore waters”.
Mr Throne said the world’s largest supertrawler, the Annelies Ilena, can carry the equivalent weight in fish of the Eiffel Tower.
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On Wednesday European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU want access to British waters.
She said: “No one questions the UK sovereignty over its own waters but we asked for predictability and we asked for guarantees for fisherman and fisherwomen who have been sailing in those waters for decades.”
On the issue of the level-playing field, Ms von der Leyen told the European Parliament the issue was “fair” competition.
Ms von der Leyen said: “It cannot be a downward competition. Just think of labour standards or environmental protection.
“It should be a shared interest for the European Union and the UK to never slide backwards and always advance together towards higher standards.”
A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “The UK is a global leader in the fight to protect our seas with our ‘blue belt’ of protected waters nearly twice the size of England.
“The common fisheries policy currently restricts our ability to implement tougher protection, but leaving the EU and taking back control of our waters means we can introduce stronger measures.”
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