Massacre of fish in the Bay of Biscay. “The fault of a super-fishing boat”

from Paolo Foschi

The environmentalists’ complaint: the Margiris ship, already banned from Australia, threw at least 100,000 dead mel into the sea

Massacre of fish in the Bay of Biscaystretch of the Atlantic Ocean between the western coast of France and the northern one of Spain. A huge floating flock of mel (used to make surimi) dead was spotted about 300 kilometers away from La Rochelle. The carcasses – as reported by the environmental association Sea Sheperd France and confirmed by local authorities – they were thrown into the water by what is considered a kind of man-made sea monster, the mega fishing boat Margiris, 143 meters long, the second largest in the world, later to the breaking of the gigantic nets used for fishing. The dead fish would be at least 100 thousand, the affected area covers an expanse of about 3 thousand square meters, as evidenced by photos and videos published on social media. The French government and the EU Commission have announced an investigation.

In the past, the Margiris had already been banned by Australia for fishing methods considered to have a very high impact on marine ecosystems. Margiris acknowledged having had an accident, the breaking of the nets. Lamya Essemlalithe activist who leads the NGO Sea Sheperd France, told Reuters the story of the super-fishing boat that after being banned from Australian waters run by a Dutch company, it has a 600 meter long net capable of holding up to 6 thousand tons of fish.

Visiting Saint-Jean-de-Luz (in the Atlantic Pyrenees), the French Minister of Fisheries, Annick Girardin, did not hesitate to define the shocking images; and also the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Virginijus Sinkevicius, he promised an investigation. According to Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Associationthe European association of freezer trawlers, the Margiris network accidentally broke at dawn on Thursday, but it is a very rare event: In line with EU regulations, the incident was recorded in the logbook and reported to the authorities of the ship’s flag state, Lithuania. France defends sustainable fishing and this does not reflect this. Should a violation be proven, sanctions would be adopted against the responsible shipowner, announced Minister Girardin. Sea Shepherd for years it has been fighting to ban winter fishing in the Bay of Biscay, also to protect the dolphins in the area.

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