The fisheries control ship Vestkysten has caught a Dutch beam trawler in the act of illegal fishing in a restricted area in the North Sea.
On the electronic monitoring, the Danish Fisheries Agency was able to establish earlier in the day that the Dutch beam trawler was staying illegally in a breeding area for plaice. Therefore, the crew of the fishing inspection vessel planned an unannounced inspection visit. The fishing skipper tried to sail away from the Fisheries Control as the boarding boat was docking with the boom trawler.
“After many unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the Dutch vessel, one of our fisheries inspectors managed to jump on board. The inspector stopped the vessel and was then able to establish that so-called ‘inner bags’ had been used in the beam trawler’s catch bags. The use of inner bags means that fish under the minimum size do not escape from the trawl again and is a very serious violation of the rules.
“We see indications of illegal fishing with inner bags from catches where very small sizes and fish are landed below the minimum size. This results in a large discard of small fish, which unfortunately affects the stocks. A violation like this can often be difficult to detect because the beam trawlers can salvage their tools in a very short time – and at the same time keep a close eye on us and our movements. We are therefore pleased to be able to put an end to illegal fishing this time around. A hefty fine is pending, so hopefully the fishing skipper will think twice when he goes fishing,” says chief mate Mads Grundvad Nielsen from the fishing control ship Vestkysten.
The Dutch beam trawler can expect fines for the illegal fishing with inner bags of up to DKK 375,000 (over €50,000).
In addition, the fishing skipper has been reported to the police for exposing the inspectors to danger in connection with boarding the fishing vessel.