Take back our waters! EU backed Foreign trawlers make MILLIONS selling to OUR supermarkets

Brexit: ‘Arrangements have been made’ on fishing says Gove

The news comes as Boris Johnson warns Brits a no-deal Brexit is “very likely”. Blue Seas Protection said up to nine of the words largest fishing trawlers were operating in protected conservation areas south east of the Isle of White. The vessels had mostly come from the Netherlands, an EU member state, and were fishing in the UK’s Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). The UK Government said the trawlers were operating legally under current legislation.

On the charity’s Facebook page, they said yesterday: “EU subsidise the supertrawlers and the UK’s MSC charity promote this caught fish of the supertrawlers as sustainable fishery, and pocket £24,000,000 a year from selling the blue tick branding seen in your supermarkets.”

Captain Garry Oates, from the charity, lashed out at the practice and called it “an act of last minute defiance and destruction”.

He said the trawlers were causing havoc for British fish stocks, and warned they posed a threat to other marine lifeforms.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “We absolutely believe it’s a clear message and an act of last minute defiance and destruction of our fish stock. This is marine ecocide.”

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Capt Oates then said the Netherlands-vessels operating in the MCZs was “an utter travesty”.

He also said the foreign trawlers operations were “making the UK a laughing stock”.

The charity founder added the trawlers arrived three weeks ago, and their operation was “totally unsustainable and wholly immoral”.

Blue Seas Protection has previously called on the UK Government to ban the ships, as well as the United Nations to bar them from operating across the world.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) had said they “found no infringements” from the trawlers, and said they had been monitoring them since they arrived.

A DEFRA spokesman said to the BBC MCZs were not meant to safeguard “highly-mobile” fish stocks, and said the trawlers did not impact the seabed which would violate the MCZs.

The spokesman added: “When the transition period ends, we will be able to restrict the fishing activities of foreign vessels, including supertrawlers, throughout our waters.”

Mr Johnson also announced in November the UK brought in a new Marine Protection Zone for the overseas territory of Tristan da Cunha.

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Supertrawlers are industrial vessels more than 100-metres long with nets measuring up to a mile, which catch hundreds of tonnes of fish a day.

Capt Oates comments comes just days after Will McCallum, Greenpeace’s head of oceans, raged against the Dutch vessels near the Isle of White.

He said to the Independent: “What the government calls protected areas are protected in name only.

“Come 1 January, the government gets new powers in areas beyond 12 miles to ban supertrawlers from MPAs so we’re calling on them to do that but so far they’ve only conceded five will be shut to supertrawlers.”

Fishing rights and access to British waters have been a key issue for Brexit negotiations, with the Prime Minister warning yesterday trade negotiations with the EU are in a “serious situation” as he repeated warnings a no-deal Brexit is “very likely”.

Mr Johnson said following a phone call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen the EU position will need to change “substantially” in order for a deal to be stuck.

A joint statement from Downing Street said: “On fisheries he stressed that the UK could not accept a situation where it was the only sovereign country in the world not to be able to control access to its own waters for an extended period and to be faced with fisheries quotas which hugely disadvantaged its own industry.

“The EU’s position in this area was simply not reasonable and if there was to be an agreement it needed to shift significantly.”

David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, echoed Mr Johnson’s warnings Brexit negotiations are on the brink of collapse yesterday.

Taking to Twitter, he said: “The situation in our talks with the EU is very serious tonight. Progress seems blocked and time is running out.“

Ms von der Leyen added yesterday the UK and EU has made “substantial progress on many issues”.

But the European Commission President also said it remains “very challenging” to bridge the “big differences” such as fishing, governance and “level playing field”.

The Brexit transition period ends on December 31, with two weeks left for Britain and Brussels to strike a deal.

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