EU fishermen accused of ‘decimating stocks’ as PM lets vessels trawl ‘with no oversight’

Fishing was one of the main sticking points during the post-Brexit trade talks between the EU and UK. But since leaving the bloc in January, tensions around regaining control over British waters have continued to grow.

Campaigners have called on the Government to keep its promise of regulating EU boats in UK waters.

Ministers confirmed that no checks at sea were done in January or February.

Inspections at sea are done to make sure vessels use the correct gear to fish and also to check they are only catching the fish they are licensed for.

Chris Thorne, an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, has warned that fish stock could be decimated by EU super trawlers.

READ MORE: MPs told to stop turning ‘blind eye’ to Brexit fishing chaos

He added: “This would deliver an almost immediate green Brexit dividend. Failing to do so would squander the opportunity of Brexit, and undermine our government’s ambition to be a global ocean champion”.

Normally there are between 10 and 20 random on-board checks each month.

However, the inspections in the first few months of this year fell due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Victoria Prentis, fishing minister, told the Telegraph: “COVID-19 safety measures introduced in response to high rates of infection impacted the ability to conduct physical inspections of vessels both at sea and on shore during January and February 2021.

“However, inspections were carried out on quaysides with social distancing measures in place and an increased at-sea enforcement presence remained in place for January and February 2021 to deter illegal activity.”

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