4 in 5 want supertrawlers banned from UK Marine Protected Areas


A YouGov poll, commissioned by Greenpeace, has shown that more than 4 in 5 members of the British public believe supertrawlers, factory trawlers over 100m long, should be banned from fishing in the UK’s Marine Protected Areas. 81% said supertrawlers should be banned from fishing in protected areas, with just 4% saying they should be permitted to fish in them [1].

The polling results are representative of the British public, and also show that support for a ban on supertrawlers fishing in protected areas cuts across the political spectrum. 81% of Labour voters, 85% of Conservative voters and 87% of Lib Dem voters support a ban. 83% of remain supporters and 87% of leave supporters also support a ban.

This comes after a Greenpeace investigation last week [11.06.2020] revealed that supertrawlers spent almost 3000 hours fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas in 2019, more than double the number of hours they spent fishing in UK protected areas in 2018. Marine Protected Areas exist to protect vulnerable ecosystems and marine life, like porpoises and reefs.

Philip Evans, an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said:

“This polling makes absolutely clear that the public is united behind our call for a ban on supertrawlers fishing in protected areas. After a decade of political division, our call cutting across the political divide should send a firm message to the government that enough is enough. Supertrawlers must be banned from our protected areas.

“Britain’s departure from the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy is the perfect opportunity to do this. Our government should listen to its constituents, and commit to banning supertrawlers from protected areas as a first step towards designating a network of fully or highly protected MPAs off-limits to all destructive activity across 30% of the UK’s waters.”

Britain’s departure from the Common Fisheries Policy will allow the UK government to implement stronger fishing regulations in offshore waters, those beyond 12 nautical miles from the coast. Currently few restrictions are in place in offshore MPAs, which is why supertrawler operations in offshore protected areas are currently legal.

Supertrawler activity in UK waters has increased since 2017. Greenpeace data shows that the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone was the worst affected by EU supertrawler activity of any on earth in 2018 and 2019, and that the time supertrawlers spent fishing in UK Marine Protected Areas had more than doubled from 1388 hours in 2018 to 2963 hours in 2019.

A Greenpeace petition, launched on 11.06.2020, calls on the government to ban supertrawlers from protected areas, and has already gathered 125,000 signatures [2].


Supertrawler photo and video is available on request

James Hanson – Press Officer – 07801 212 994 – james.hanson@greenpeace.org 


[1] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,664 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th – 29th May 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

[2] https://action.greenpeace.org.uk/ban-destructive-fishing

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