Danish Fisheries Association’s Ole Lundberg Larsen claims that their members have not been operating illegal multi-rig gear in Scottish waters. Photo: John Clark
Deputy Director of the Danish Fisheries Association, Ole Lundberg Larsen claims that as far as he and the Association are aware, none of their members have been operating illegal multi-gear in Scottish waters since 01 March 2021.
Speaking to The Fishing Daily yesterday, Mr Lundberg Larsen was keen to point out that the Danish nephrops trawlers had not intentionally acted in way that would have breached their licensing regulations which currently allow them to fish in UK waters since 01 January last.
He said, “What I have been told is that there might be one or two (fishing boats) that would have used multi-rig before 01 March, but I haven’t heard of anyone using it after.
“There was a little confusion after the discussions (EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement), I think.
It’s a new agreement for everyone. It’s a new licence for everyone and we need to find each other. I don’t think any Danes set out to do something illegal. Why should we?”
Mr Lundberg Larsen said that they had not been notified of the change in regulations by the Scottish or UK Governments until the issue was brought up by their colleagues in Scotland, but once they became aware of it they moved immediately to address the situation with their members.
He also claimed that the clause stating that multi-rigs of more than two trawl nets were banned from Scottish waters for all fishing vessels was difficult to find in the 14-page licence.
That rule was changed under the Schedule 2 Part 2 of the Fisheries Act 2020 amended 325/2017 of SSI 13/2007 – The Prohibition of Fishing with Multiple Trawls (Scotland) Order 2017, essentially removing the word “British” vessels and substituting the word with “other” vessels, which then extended the statutory instrument to all vessels licenced to fish in UK waters.
Questioned about the photos taken of a Danish trawler hauling what has been deemed as a multi-rig with more than two nets, Mr Lundberg Larsen said that from the photos, he could not recognise what type of gear was being hauled and said, “I cannot of course tell if one of our boats done it.”
He said that his members working in the Fladen area informed him they were subjected to monitoring by the Marine Scotland fisheries patrol but that none of them had been notified that they were using the wrong fishing gear.
Marine Scotland confirmed that they are currently investigating allegations of Danish fishing vessels with multi-rig gear in the Fladens but they cannot comment on individual investigations.
By Oliver McBride