It was worse than we imagined. Operation Ocean Witness launched at the beginning of summer to investigate and confront destructive fishing in Marine Protected Areas.
We spotted countless industrial fishing boats in the protected areas and learned from local fishers that there are often no fish left for them to catch. It’s almost the end of the road for small-scale fishers along the South and East Coast.
This is an emergency, and politicians should treat it like one. Fishing communities from around the region, along with allied businesses and organisations including Greenpeace UK, are calling on the UK government to take urgent action. You can read our joint statement here.
"Something needs to change, and urgently."@Greenpeace ocean campaigner @fifinicholl says fishermen's livelihoods are being devastated by industrial fishing as a 'State of Emergency" is declared in the Channel and Southern North Sea.#KayBurley: https://t.co/iOm40vn1kt pic.twitter.com/fh6M9gPmna
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 10, 2021
The changes we’re calling for include permanent bans for supertrawlers, bottom trawlers and fly-shooters in all marine protected areas more than 12 nautical miles from the coast in the English Channel, and a ban on pelagic trawlers over 55m in length, and fly-shooters in the entire English Channel and Southern North Sea.
These measures would boost catches for local fishers, revive coastal communities and provide space for marine ecosystems and fish populations to recover from years of devastation by industrial fishing. This would also be a vital step towards the UK government delivering its target of protecting 30% of the UK’s and the world’s oceans by 2030.
On Wednesday the 22nd of September, fishing boats and Greenpeace will be sailing up the Thames to Parliament with these demands, to make sure that they are heard by politicians.
Fishing communities are at breaking point
We’ve been at sea all summer bearing witness to the destruction taking place in the English Channel and nearby waters. We’ve worked closely with local fishermen, and when you’re on the water with them, it’s very clear; our fishing communities are at breaking point. They won’t survive much longer without urgent action from the government.
Fishing communities, anglers, charter skippers, fishmongers and environmental groups alike support these measures. We hope that by coming together to fight for the same thing, our government will finally start taking big, urgent, practical steps towards delivering this goal. If these requests are ignored, multinational fishing companies will continue to have free reign to wreck our oceans, threatening the livelihoods of the local fishers who are the backbone of our coastal communities.
Local fishermen speak out