UK fishing group: driftnet ban 'crazy'

A British fishermen’s organization is blasting a proposal by the European Commission to ban driftnet fishing, saying better enforcement of current rules is the way to handle bycatch concerns.

The statement, from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations (NFFO), comes in response to the proposal earlier this month to ban use of the nets starting 1 January 2015. The nets, the commission claimed, were too dangerous to protected species such as sea turtles.

In its statement, the NFFO quoted scientist and environmental activist Sidney Holt as saying the proposal was “crazy, misguided and possibly malicious.”

The NFFO blamed the push for such a ban on “the failure of Italy and perhaps other E.U. states in the Mediterranean to enforce existing legislation prohibiting the use of driftnets for specific species like swordfish.”

The NFFO claimed the ban would close many British small-scale driftnet fisheries for species such as herring, mackerel and salmon. Enforcement of current regulations, the NFFO argued, would accomplish the same goal without punishing smaller driftnet fisheries that aren’t harming the environment.

“Addressing problems with enforcement of the existing legislation by prohibiting our relatively benign fisheries would be high-handed in the extreme,” the NFFO said in its statement.


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