Danish fishing has been left reeling over revelations that neighbouring Dutch beam trawlers are fishing illegally in the country’s waters
Danish fishing has been left reeling over revelations from their national media which claims that neighbouring Dutch beam trawlers are fishing illegally in the country’s waters.
New revelations show that Dutch beam trawlers deliberately turn off or turn down the AIS signal to obscure their activities
Danish broadcaster TV2 has, in collaboration with the research collective NOIR and the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, carried out a study documenting that 30 out of 31 of the Dutch trawlers who have fished in Danish waters have switched off their AIS system in order to hide their activities. at sea. This is despite the fact that it is mandatory for all vessels over 15 metres to use the AIS system.
Against this background, the Dutch beam trawlers have once again ended up in the media spotlight, and this annoys the chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association, Svend-Erik Andersen.
“I am, to put it bluntly, dead tired of the fact that we have problems with the Dutch boom trawlers time and time again. It paints a sad picture of the fishing industry, and it is completely unsatisfactory for the Danish fishermen who play by the rules. Both because the beam trawlers ruin their fishing, but also because it damages the image of the fishing industry. That is why this is completely unacceptable,” said the DFA Chair.
According to TV2’s coverage of the Dutch AIS cheating, the explanation for the switched off systems is that the beam trawlers fish within the 12 nautical mile zone and the consequence is that it is possible for the Dutch to fiddle with their catches and quotas. At the same time, it is devastating for the Danish fishermen’s fisheries, just as the invisible Dutch also pose a safety risk.
The Danish politicians have been quick to react with Minister of Fisheries Rasmus Prehn warning that fisheries controls will be tightened on the Dutch fishing fleet. Amongst other things he told TV2:
“We need to sharpen and have clear control. And the unfortunate thing is that it is largely foreign fishermen who have done this. Danish fishermen have, so to speak, tried to play by the rules, and now they see themselves outcompeted by foreign fishermen who are just cheating on the weight. It is not enough, it must be stopped, and we are doing it now.”
Against this background, the Minister has announced that the restrictions must be tightened, just as it is to switch off the AIS system.
The Danish Fisheries Association is satisfied that the Minister is now taking action. However, it is important that it does not affect the national fishing fleet.
“It is reprehensible that the Dutch beam trawlers both endanger Danish fishermen and destroy the fishery. Therefore, I can well understand that the Minister we tighten the grip. I support this as chairman of the Danish fishermen. But it is also important to state that this should not affect the Danish fishermen. They have not done anything wrong, and therefore the behaviour of the Dutch should not blame them,” states Svend-Erik Andersen.
Søren Gade, Member of the European Parliament and Deputy Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries, also intervened in the matter, focusing on the fact that the fine bloc must come forward, just as the politicians in the Folketing must use more force on foreign fishermen. and impossible rules. To TV2 , Søren Gade says:
“Now we have heard for years that fishermen complain that some others turn off the AIS signal. Now the Danish Fisheries Agency can take their hands out of their pockets and concentrate on imposing fines, because then they are now more likely to comply with the rules.
“In summary, we now know that the case will mean that the sanctions will be tightened, and that the Fisheries Control will have the opportunity to call a ship up and ask it to stay at a certain coordinate. Finally, a collaboration will be initiated with the Coast Guard, which will help with surveillance from the air.”