Trawler spilling 100 000 dead fish off France ignites outrage

‘Exhaustive’ inquiry launched.
Image: Getty Images

French maritime minister Annick Girardin has called for an investigation into the alleged dumping this week of 100 000 dead fish off the country’s Atlantic Coast by a Dutch-owned trawler.

The environmental activist group Sea Shepherd released footage showing the carpet of floating carcasses covering an estimated 3 000 square meters (32 300 square feet).

The spill of blue whiting, a species used to produce fish fingers and other products and which is subject to quotas, was said to have been caused by a break early Thursday in one of the the trawler’s nets. The industry group that represents the vessel’s owner reported it as a “fishing incident.”

Campaigners with Sea Shepherd France, though, disputed what the Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association called a “very rare occurrence.”

The environmentalists said it appeared the fish had been dumped in a bid by the vessel’s operators to discharge a type of catch it didn’t want to process, a practice banned under EU rules.

Virginijus Sinkevicius, the European Union Commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries, echoed France in calling for an “exhaustive” inquiry.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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