FV Margiris, the world’s second-largest fishing vessel, sheds more than 100000 dead fish off the coast of France. The environmentalists spotted this blue carpet of carcasses in the Atlantic Ocean.
This incident was described as ‘shocking’ by fisheries minister Annick Girardin of France. She further said that there would be an investigation into the matters that led to this incident involving the Dutch-owned trawler, FV Margiris.
The EU Commissioner for environment, oceans, and fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, said he was seeking “exhaustive information and evidence about the case”.
A Fishing industry group, the Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association (PFA), stated the reason for this dump. It was due to a rupture in the trawler’s net. The spill happened early on Thursday.
“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,” said the PFA, adding that they would subtract the dead fish from the vessel’s quota.
An environmentalist group contradicted this activity, saying that it was illegal to dump 100000 unwanted dead fish in the ocean.
The French arm of Sea Shepherd published the first few pictures of the spill. It showed about 3000 sq.m. ocean coverage with the blue whiting, a sub-species of cod, used to mass-produce fish fingers, fish oil, and meal. The Sea Shepherd arm said that it did not look like an accident at all. Instead, it seemed as if the trawler discharged the unwanted type of fish that it did not want to process. It is a practice known as “discharging bycatch,” banned under EU fishing rules.
FV Margiris use more than a kilometer-long drag net to catch the fish and then processes the fish in the inboard factories. Environmentalists heavily criticize these kinds of activities.
Many activists protested against such actions, and as a result, Margiris was forced to leave Australian waters in 2012. The vessel could haul about 18000 tons of fish. But due to the public outburst, it was banned by then Labour Environment Minister Tony Burke.
Although, the data from marinetraffic.com on Friday showed that a vessel, owned by the Dutch company Parlevliet & Van der Plas, was still involved in fishing activities off the French coast.
Such mal practices have to be stopped, and we need to start making conscious efforts towards protecting our environment.
After all, for how long will we keep a blind eye to the havocs created by such avoidable human errors?