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Greenpeace activists drive off trawlers illegally fishing in protected marine areas

GREENPEACE activists successfully chased away two trawlers illegally fishing in protected marine areas.

The French-flagged trawlers had turned off their satellite tracking systems, and were “bottom trawling” — dragging weighted nets across the seabed destroying marine life.

The trawlers were spotted fishing in two British Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) off the south coast.

Seagoing Greenpeace activists onboard the campaign group’s newest vessel Sea Beaver intercepted and contacted the trawlers — the VF Atlas and the Glorieuse Immaculee — warning them they were in protected areas. 

The trawlers agreed to stop fishing and left the area.

Greenpeace says that it has repeatedly reported illegal fishing to British marine authorities, who have taken no action.

Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Fiona Nicholls said: “Not only do we keep catching destructive fishing vessels damaging our protected areas, we also keep catching them fishing with their satellite tracking systems turned off.

“This is illegal and dangerous for all other seafarers. It’s like driving down the motorway at night with your lights off, but when we reported this to the authorities, no action was taken.

“Our government keeps saying it’s a world leader in marine protection, but it can’t even enforce international maritime law in its waters. 

“It’s still letting destructive vessels harm our protected areas for thousands of hours each year, and it’s still failing our fishing communities. 

“We need to ban bottom trawlers and super-trawlers from all of our protected areas to level up ocean protection.”

Greenpeace activists are mounting Operation Ocean Witness, in which Sea Beaver and her crew patrol protected marine areas off the coast of Britain.


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