Nov 30

PRESS RELEASE: MEPs must use their influence to get independent observers on board supertrawlers in Irish waters

The Irish Wildlife Trust welcomes the intervention by the naval service to board the supertrawler ‘Margiris’ yesterday (see www.facebook.com/irishnavalservice ). However in order to address the concerns around these very large boats it is imperative that full-time, independent observers are placed on board to monitor their activities. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) recorded the highest level of strandings of common dolphin ever during the first three months of this year, after a busy winter of supertrawler activity off the west coast: (for more information see: http://www.iwdg.ie/news/?id=2623 )

Earlier this year the IWT and IWDG wrote to Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries outlining our concerns. In April his office responded, saying: “I have taken good note of the information you provide about an assumed observed increase in numbers of strandings of cetaceans, which you state may be caused by the fact that these animals are being by-caught in pelagic fisheries. The issue you raise merits further examination, and we will further analyse cetacean bycatches in pelagic fisheries in Irish waters. We will contact you again after we have contacted the relevant Member State authorities and industry representatives.”

However, despite further enquiries by ourselves, we have yet to receive any additional communication. The IWT is now calling on our MEPs, some of whom have shown support for this campaign, to use their influence to progress matters.

IWT campaign officer Pádraic Fogarty says “The European Commission have had all year to digest the evidence and yet we are now entering another winter with nothing done. As supertrawlers gather in our waters we are once again faced with the prospect of a slaughter of our marine life.”

CONTACT:  Padraic Fogarty – IWT’s Campaigns Officer – irishwildlife@iwt.ie for further details