EU parliament rejects ban on bottom-fishing trawlers

Dec 10, 2013
File picture shows a fisherman on an offshore trawler based in Concarneau, western France checking his nets early December 2003 during a trip off the coast of southern Ireland

The European Parliament on Tuesday narrowly rejected a ban on bottom-fishing trawlers, blamed by environmentalists for massive deep-sea destruction but defended by France and Spain.

Lawmakers voted down the ban by 342 votes to 326, backing a compromise motion by the main Conservative and Socialist groups to regulate the sector more closely so as to protect vulnerable habitats.

Bottom fishing with heavy trawl nets scoops up everything on the seabed, a practice say destroys fragile ecosystems such as coral reefs which are home to a wide variety of species and essential breeding grounds.

It is used mainly by French and Spanish boats off the Scottish and Irish coasts in waters up to 1,500 metres (5,700 feet) deep.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki had sought a ban in the Northeast Atlantic beginning in two years time but parliament's fisheries commission recommended instead it should be stopped only in areas identified by the Commission as especially vulnerable.

Green French MEP Jean-Paul Besset deplored the outcome, saying that "as other marine resources are run down, the logic of always more, further out, deeper won the day."

Environment group Greenpeace said the vote showed that parliament was "at best half-hearted" in its approach.

"It is astonishing that subsidised fishing vessels can continue to plough the seafloor with monster nets that crush everything in their path," it said in a statement.

File photo shows members of the European Parliament taking part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France on March 13, 2013

"Without subsidies, deep-sea trawling would be unprofitable," it said, noting that while relatively "few fishermen in France, Spain and Portugal specialise in deep-sea fishing with trawls ... their impact is disproportionately large."

The Blue Fish Europe industry group for its part welcomed the vote, saying it would help protect fishermen's jobs as well as the environment.

Explore further: Mythical sea creature joins bid to ban bottom trawling

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU officials, lawmakers agree fisheries reform

May 30, 2013

EU officials and European lawmakers finally agreed a fisheries reform package on Thursday, winning a guarded welcome from green groups with a commitment to protect stocks and control the wasteful dumping ...

Disputed fish quota cuts lead to tough EU talks

Dec 18, 2012

EU fishery ministers began difficult talks Tuesday on the vexed question of 2013 quotas as they sought to balance conflicting demands from environmentalists and fishermen alike.

MEPs approve new EU sustainable fishery regime

Feb 06, 2013

The European Parliament approved Wednesday a new fisheries accord hailed by environmental groups as a breakthrough in managing a key food resource which has been over-exploited for years.

EU fish discard ban agreed -- for 2019

Jun 13, 2012

After 20 hours of talks into the early hours Wednesday, Europe's fisheries ministers finally struck a compromise deal to save the oceans from overfishing -- but failed to satisfy environmentalists.

Recommended for you

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

23 hours ago

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

Noise pollution impacts fish species differently

Jul 24, 2014

Acoustic disturbance has different effects on different species of fish, according to a new study from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter which tested fish anti-predator behaviour.

User comments : 0