SIR – I felt saddened and disappointed to see two EU super trawlers, the ‘Margiris’ and ‘Dirk Dirk’ sheltering in Bantry Bay over a recent weekend. I find their presence sinister given their history.
In an article published in the Australian Herald Sun back in 2012, it reported: ‘The super trawlers are boats that should never have been built. They are anti-sustainable in design and devastating in their implementation.
‘This particular boat recently caused the collapse of fish stocks in West Africa such that Senegal has recently banned all super trawlers. Ironically, the European owned boat processed these fish and sold them back to African markets, thereby raping not only the environment, but the economy, of their host nation.
‘But why such concern about a single boat? It would take 56 traditional African fishing boats a year to harvest the number of fish this boat can remove from the seas in a single day. A small crew of 40 people will get just one days wages for this fishing effort, as compared to the hundreds of local fishers who would have received wages for a whole year.
‘In Australia, the quota of fish allocated to this super trawler is half of the entire allowable catch in the area. This is economically unsustainable.’
It has been well documented that the ‘Margiris,’ the world’s second largest factory trawler had previously been impounded and banned from fishing Australian waters after a fierce public backlash by environmental campaigners, local fishermen and nature lovers.
However this EU-flagged super trawler is no stranger to controversy being one of a whole fleet who frequently grab fish stocks within Ireland’s exclusive economic zone. There is an urgent need for the creation of large marine protected areas to keep these factory ships away and a call for stronger surveillance of their bycatch.