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Activists board supertrawler to prevent it from fishing in ‘protected waters’

Suzanne Plunkett/Greenpeace

By Daniel Harkins, PA Scotland

Greenpeace activists have boarded a supertrawler in the North Sea and prevented it from fishing in what it claims are protected waters.

The environmental group said the Helen Mary vessel was fishing in the Central Fladen protected area, east of Scotland.

Activists from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza boarded the 117 metre-long vessel and hung a banner reading: “Ban supertrawlers now.”

They placed fishing deterrents in the supertrawler’s nets before the Germany-registered Helen Mary left the area.

In 2019, the same vessel was detained at sea by Marine Scotland on suspected fishery offences.

Supertrawlers are high intensity fishing vessels, capable of catching hundreds of tonnes of fish each day using nets up to a mile long.

Greenpeace say the intensity with which they fish negatively impacts the entire marine ecosystem.

Chris Thorne, a Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner on board Esperanza, said: “Supertrawlers have no place in our protected areas.

“What use is a protected area, when the highest intensity industrial fishing vessels are allowed to operate inside it?

“Regardless of whether a protected area protects the seabed, or marine life like porpoises which are directly threatened by supertrawlers, the operations of a supertrawler in a supposedly protected area make a mockery of the word protected.”