German supertrawler leaves ‘thousands of dead fish’ in 2019World leaders from around 200 countries have flocked to Glasgow in order to strike agree
German supertrawler leaves ‘thousands of dead fish’ in 2019
World leaders from around 200 countries have flocked to Glasgow in order to strike agreements on how they plan to tackle climate change and global emissions by 2030. Their aim is to help curb the effects of human-induced global warming and save the environment before it is too late. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the summit will be the “world’s moment of truth”, urging leaders to make the most of it: “The question everyone is asking is whether we seize this moment or let it slip away.”
The climate and environment have been at the forefront of politics in recent years after what activists argue has been decades of ignorance.
A combination of things have catapulted the push to save the Earth into the mainstream: documentaries like Planet Earth, as well as high-profile activists such as Greta Thunberg and mass demonstrations from organisations like Extinction Rebellion.
Perhaps one of the most contentious environmental issues, the extent to which the world’s oceans were being depleted and ransacked by giant fishing fleets, was explored earlier this year in the Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy.
Before this, much of the dealings of the world’s corporate fisheries was little known about.
German supertrawler: The footage showed thousands of dead fish left in the wake of the ship
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Conservationists, however, have been following what are known as supertrawlers — huge fishing verses capable of harvesting thousands of tonnes of fish in a single expedition — for years.
In 2019, Sea Shepherd, an international marine wildlife conservation organisation, sent out patrols for its Operation ByCatch just off the Atlantic Coast of France and recorded what they encountered.
Following a German supertrawler, the ‘Anne Hillina’, the team found a path of death and destruction left in the ship’s wake.
Using a drone, at 150 metres high, patches of thousands of dead fish were found, “killed for no reason”, the footage’s narrator said.
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Anne Hillina: Sea Shepherd filmed the trawler’s operations
The next day, the Sea Shepherd sent out smaller boats closer to the Anne Hillina to observe its operations.
The narrator said: “It’s scary to watch.
“The size of the net, the giant vacuum that sucks up the fish from the net and sends it straight to the fish holds.
“This is the true face of industrial fishing.”
The fish caught generally provide supermarkets with cheap fish, also making surimi and fish meal to feed farmed salmon and factory raised chickens.
The Anne Hillina is just one of thousands of ships that catch millions of fish and dolphins, whose corpses often end up on beaches, according to Sea Shepherd.
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Environment: Supertrawlers unintentionally catch thousands of fish which mostly go on to die
Oceans: The trail of fish left behind the vessel
In recent years, the EU has come under fire for its part in appearing to turn a blind eye to member state supertrawlers around the world.
Oceana, an ocean conservation organisation, in an undated report, went as far as to claim that: “European trawlers are destroying the oceans”.
Around 100,000 vessels make up the EU fishing fleet.
This includes boats that fish in EU waters, the waters of other countries and international waters.
The paper read: “From among these almost 100,000 vessels, the EU is home to a particularly damaging fleet: the 15,000 trawlers that operate in European waters, as well as those of third countries or those fishing on the high seas.
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“These trawlers are overexploiting marine resources and irreversibly damaging some of the most productive and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.”
The vessels used by the EU often throw nets larger than a football pitch in order to catch the most amount of fish in the least amount of time.
However, even last month, European supertrawlers were still fishing in the UK’s waters.
Fonia Nicholls, Ocean Campaigner for the group, recently claimed that UK fishermen who had voted for Brexit had been neglected.
The planet: Many argue fishing via supertrawlers is not sustainable
She argued that the Government is no longer listening to those affected by the EU’s fishing techniques, telling Express.co.uk: “It’s just a complete disservice to the people that believed in that process so strongly and many of whom were the real forefront of Brexit campaign, you know, they really saw there was something to gain and we do have post-Brexit powers.”
Meanwhile, leaders are today assembling in Glasgow to discuss methods on how to curb their countries’ carbon emissions output.
US President Joe Biden has touched down at Edinburgh Airport, and is expected to arrive ahead of the opening ceremony this afternoon.
Alongside the world leaders, tens of thousands of campaigners and businesses will hold events, network and protest.
Extinction Rebellion are expected to hold demonstrations, calling for an immediate end to the use of fossil fuels.