The Danish Fisheries Agency's control ship Vestkysten has caught another Dutch beam trawler fishing with illegal inner bags in the trawls

The Danish Fisheries Agency’s control ship Vestkysten has caught another Dutch beam trawler fishing with illegal inner bags in the trawls. Photo: Knud E Hansen

The Danish Fisheries Agency’s control ship Vestkysten has caught another Dutch beam trawler fishing with illegal inner bags in the trawls in its North Sea EEZ. 

An inner bag is an illegal, fine-mesh fishing bag that is mounted inside the legal trawl. Inner bag fishing prevents small fish from escaping the trawl and is a violation of the rules. 

“We have now found a new case where a beam trawler has fitted illegal inner bags in the legal catch bags. When fishing with inner bags, you also catch the smallest fish in the stocks. It is a clear breach of the EU’s common fisheries policy, which must ensure sustainable fisheries. In addition to the illegal inner bags, it was found during the fisheries control that there was also illegal discarding of fish. According to the rules, the full catch must always be brought ashore so that the right quantities of fish can be written off on the quotas. We are pleased that we have once again put an end to illegal fishing,” says master Jesper Bech Eiersted from the fishing control ship Vestkysten. 

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The case has not yet been completed, but the it is considered a serious violation. On the basis of the documentation obtained and the consultation of the fisherman, it is tentatively assessed that the case will be reported to the police with a fine claim of up to DKK 400,000 (€54,000/£56,000).

The Danish Fisheries Agency has tightened fisheries control to put an end to illegal fishing. In particular, there has been a focus on vessels that switch off their AIS signals, and new methods are still being tested to further tighten controls. The purpose is to be able to document the violations that take place in Danish waters. 

The control takes place via through electronic monitoring, risk analyses as well as physical boardings and inspections of fishing vessels at sea, testing of new technologies and cooperation with other authorities. 

As part of the efforts to put an end to illegal fishing, the Danish Fisheries Agency has also strengthened its efforts to provide information on the rules and sanction requirements for particularly major violations of fisheries legislation in Danish waters. 

With a hefty fine waiting, the fishermen will hopefully think twice next time they think about fishing illegally in Danish waters. 

A comprehensive overview of major infringement cases and police reports in 2022 is being prepared and is expected to be ready by mid-June 2022. 

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Danish authorities catch Dutch beam trawler fishing with illegal gear 

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