A claim has been made that there is extensive cheating in the Danish fishing industry in relation to engine power capacity
An article in Denmark’s Weekendavisen, on 27 November 2020, claims some players in the Danish fishing industry have been gaming the system by using engines more powerful that regulations allow for.
The article, by Magnus Boding Hansen, contends that it uncovers how the Danish Fisheries Control Agency has been ignoring overcapacity in terms of engine power for fishing vessels in the Limfjord and the Baltic Sea area 22. In these respective sea areas, clear restrictions apply limiting fishing vessels to 130 kW in the Limfjord and 221kW in the Baltic Sea, area 22.
Engine power limitations were introduced to reduce impacts on the marine environment but engine overcapacity directly undermines coastal fishing and is destructive for the marine environment. A bigger engine enables fishing vessels to make use of heavy gear, with severe consequences for especially the seabed and ocean ecosystems.
Denmark is obliged by EU law to live up to specific limitations regarding the total capacity of their national fishing fleet, the so-called capacity ceiling. The Danish Fisheries Agency has established controls of engine power but the article claims they are only checking what is outlined in written documents. Hereby they have found a discrepancy of 4825 kW between information available through the Danish Maritime Authority’s register and the Danish Fisheries Agency’s register. However, the true engine power of vessels in the sea areas described are generally higher than what is registered, and so Denmark’s reporting to the EU may be flawed.
The article also refers to the report ‘Study on Engine Power Verification by Member States’, in which it is mentioned how Denmark did not implement a sampling plan in accordance with Article 62 of the Commission Implementing Regulation, even though this plan was already developed in 2012. Danish authorities also acquired portable power verification systems in 2012, but these were not put to use.
“The man behind the tip goes to meetings with officials in the Danish Fisheries Agency, which is part of the infamous Ministry of Food – those with the negligent mink killings and the lack of legal authority. Officials tell him they know the engines are often illegal. Why they did not stop it, he has never been able to get an answer. I do not need his words for the illegalities to take place, he has said – I can see them with my own eyes. They can be spotted from land by any layman who has read up on the cases a bit.” Magnus Boding Hansen ‘The Engine Power Mystery’.