Spanish ecologists have accused Irish fishing vessels on the Basque coast of illegal activity and inhumane treatment of marine mammals
In the past number of weeks a group of Irish vessels have been operating off the north coast of Spain fishing for albacore tuna where they have a quota of 2,743 tonnes to catch for 2020.
In an article in Europa Azul, the Basque environmental group Eguzki slammed the presence of Irish pelagic vessels in the Cantabrian Sea and the Bay of Biscay accusing the Irish of the slaughter of marine mammals and fishing illegally inside the 12nm limit.
In their article Europa Azul reported Eguzki as saying “We have counted up to seven Irish vessels, although the total number of vessels will probably be higher.” and claimed that a dead swordfish with a broken dorsal fin was the result of the pelagic trawl nets from Irish trawlers: “Those net that swallow everything, be it commercial, non-commercial or protected species.”
Europa Azul says that the use of pelagic trawl nets is prohibited in both Spanish waters and the Euskadi by their respective administrations. They claim that the reason behind this is “primarily because they trap and drag everything that gets in his way and generates much discarding.”
Eguzki claims: “And that’s it, in short, the drag consists of casting a weighted net in the shape of a funnel between two boats that are moving and collecting everything in their path. These nets that can have a mouth the size of a soccer field not only catch the target species, but of all kinds, whether commercial, non-commercial or protected as turtles, dolphins and even whales.”
Europa Azul writes “Many specimens are returned to the sea for not having commercial interest, but already dead.
“Eguzki emphasizes that the Cantabrian fishermen use artisanal fishing gear such as hunting, thereby catching the bonito one by one, avoiding discards.
“These trawlers, which are mainly of French and Irish origin , work under the cloak of European legality in international waters, although sometimes they cross the line 12 miles from the coast, violating Basque and Spanish legality where these techniques are prohibited.”
Source: Europa Azul