The PFA has confirmed that a fish spill in the Bay of Biscay yesterday was the result of a burst cod-end from the FV Margiris
The Pelagic-freezer Trawler Association has confirmed that a suspected fish dump in the Bay of Biscay earlier yesterday, Thursday 03 February, was in fact the result of a burst cod-end from one of their members vessels.
The 143 metre Lithuanian-registered, FV Margiris was trawling for blue whiting in the area when the cod-end ruptured and released a quantity of fish into the sea.
The 9,499 tonne vessel is one of the largest supertrawlers in the world and is owned by Atlantic High Sea Fishing Company, a subsidiary company of Dutch fishing giants, Parlevliet & Van der Plas.
EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius immediately called for an enquiry into the accident when he received word. He tweeted:
“Unfortunate incident in Bay of Biscay resulting in massive discards of fish.
@EU_Commission reacts immediately. We are launching an inquiry to national authorities of the fishing area & presumed flag state of the vessel, to get exhaustive information & evidence about the case.”
Later, yesterday the PFA issued a statement revealing that it was one of their members’ fishing vessels and gave an explanation into the incident.
STATEMENT BY THE PELAGIC FREEZER-TRAWLER ASSOCIATION (PFA)
“Today, reports were made in the press about encounters with dead fish in the Bay of Biscay, coinciding with fishing activities by – among others – PFA members’ vessels.
“We would like to clarify that around 5.50am this morning, an amount of blue whiting spilled from the Margiris vessel due to a rupture in the cod-end part of the net. This is a very rare occurrence. In line with EU law, this has been recorded in the vessel’s logbook and reported to the authorities of the vessel’s flag state, Lithuania.
“Blue whiting is a target species which is of great value to our members. Moreover, it is a quota species and the lost fish will be deducted from the vessel’s quota. It is not in our members’ interest to lose any fish they take on board.
“The PFA’s members remain committed to responsible and sustainable fisheries.”
by Oliver McBride