The explosion of foreign supertrawlers in UK MPAs - Fishing time in the first half of 2020 doubles 2019 effort.
Fishing by large foreign-owned pelagic supertrawlers over 100m in length in UK Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has rocketed this year and has been increasing significantly since 2017 Fifteen of the supertrawlers operating in UK waters in 2019 were Russian-owned. Nine were Dutch-owned, and one was Polish-owned. One of the supertrawlers active in UK waters, the Frank Bonefaas, is UK-flagged, but under Dutch ownership.
A DEFRA spokesperson 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.
In 2019, supertrawlers spent 2,963 hours fishing in 39 protected areas, while in the first six months of 2020, supertrawlers spent 5,590 hours fishing in 19 protected areas“Our government allowing destructive supertrawlers to fish for thousands of hours every year in MPAs makes a mockery of the word ‘protected’.”
The British public overwhelmingly backs a ban on supertrawler operations in UK MPAs. A YouGov poll showed that four in five UK adults back a ban, with support cutting across political divides. Last week, over 50 MPs signed an open letter to environment secretary George Eustice urging him to commit to a ban on supertrawler operations in UK MPAs.