Sir Michael Palin, Gillian Anderson among celebrities calling for UK ban on supertrawlers

A total of 72 MPs, celebrities and scientists write to Environment Secretary in a letter co-ordinated by Greenpeace

[Aug. 9, 2020: iNews]

Sir Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley, Gillian Anderson and foreign secretary Dominic Raab are among 72 MPs and celebrities calling on the government to ban supertrawlers, bottom trawlers and dredgers from fishing in UK protected areas.

Supertrawlers are legally allowed to operate in protected areas at the moment, even though their activities can can damage the environment as they rake up the sea bed and result in overfishing.

The controversial fishing vessels, all of which are foreign-owned, can be more than 100 metres long and ‘vacuum’ up huge quantities of fish every day as they move through the water.

Dozens of opponents have signed an open letter to the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, urging him to ban industrial fishing vessels from operating inside the UK’s most ecologically sensitive marine areas and ensure that marine protection is a top priority when Britain leaves the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

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Greenpeace letter

The letter, coordinated by Greenpeace UK, has also been signed by Green MP Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, Alison Steadman and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

It calls on the Government to “ensure that protection of the environment and the livelihoods of the UK’s coastal communities are the top priority when Britain becomes an independent coastal state”.

And it urges the government to “ban destructive industrial fishing vessels like supertrawlers from fishing in the UK’s Marine Protection Areas” because they rake up the seabed, destroying valuable habit.

Philip Evans, an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The writing is on the wall – supertrawlers have no place in our most sensitive and ecologically important waters. Allowing these floating fish factories to operate in our Marine Protected Areas undermines the Government’s vision for ocean protection both at home and on the world stage.”

“This Government must heed the call from MPs, scientists, campaigners and one of its own cabinet ministers, and commit to a ban on supertrawlers and other destructive vessels operating in UK MPAs. This would pave the way for a network of fully or highly protected marine areas covering at least 30 per cent of UK waters, and demonstrate that this Government is serious about being a world leader on marine protection.”

Thousands of hours a year

The letter comes after a Greenpeace investigation revealed that supertrawlers, industrial fishing vessels over 100m long, spend thousands of hours each year fishing in supposedly protected parts of the UK’s waters.

A Defra spokesman said the UK is a global leader in the fight to protect British seas with the Blue Belt of protected waters that are nearly twice the size of England..... Read More

Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.