Just before Christmas, green NGOs delivered a giant pop-up book depicting the ‘devastation’ caused by ‘destructive’ bottom trawling to EU commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, on behalf of more than 150,000 Europeans who have signed a petition calling for the EU to phase out ‘destructive’ fishing practices, starting with an immediate ban of bottom trawling in all Marine Protected Areas.

The signatories are demanding that Commissioner Sinkevicius, who is responsible for the environment, ocean and fisheries, and EU Commission executive vice-president Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for the EU Green Deal, include a ban on bottom- trawling in the upcoming EU action plan to ‘conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems’ (Ocean Action Plan), to be adopted next spring.

Oceana, Seas At Risk, Our Fish, WeMove Europe, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the Environmental
Justice Foundation delivered the 1.5m by 2.5m pop-up book – which features Commissioners Sinkevicius and Timmermans embarking on an ocean adventure – outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

The book presents a story of how ‘the EU has the chance to turn the tide on destructive fishing by banning bottom trawling, through a journey from current underwater devastation to a healthy, thriving and resilient marine environment’, according to the NGOs.

Vera Coelho, senior director of advocacy at Oceana in Europe, said: “Marine Protected Areas, as the name suggests, are supposed to afford protection to marine life, yet in 2020 over 2.5 million hours of bottom trawling took place inside them. It is unacceptable that the EU continues condoning the destruction of the very places it has committed to protect. This madness can and must be fixed now, for good.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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