Sent in by John Kinsman, station manager at Coastwatch St Monans, east Fife.
Floating Fish Factories
Destructive supertrawlers are targeting areas off the Fife and Tayside coast, stripping them of fish and harming the livelihoods of local crews, claim campaigners. Greenpeace is calling for a ban on the floating factories which it says spent a total of 2,600 hours which equals 108 days operating in marine protected areas off the coast of Scotland in 2019.
An investigation by Greenpeace found the Firth of Forth banks complex was among those visited by super trawlers which fished in it for 30 minutes. The far north coast of Scotland was most fished area in the UK with supertrawlers in the Wyville Thomson Ridge for over 2,000 hours, followed by Geikie Slide and Hebridean Slope MPA in the Hebrides at 270 hours.
The controversial factory ships can be more than 100 metres long and vacuum up huge quantities of fish every day, said Leon Fields from Dundee Greenpeace group. He said, “I am horrified to discover that the protected areas off the coast of Fife and the rest of Scotland are being exploited by industrial fishing giants and this happening legally. For the UK government to be taken seriously as a leader in marine protection it must ban supertrawler operations in the UK marine protected areas.”
An investigation by Greenpeace reported that 25 super trawlers none of which is UK owned spent nearly 3,000 hours fishing in marine protected areas of the UK in 2019. Their presence off the UK coast has led to fears over fishing stocks and spikes in numbers of dolphin deaths. Among them was the FV Margiris, a 142 metre giant that gained notoriety after it was banned from Australian waters.
A Defra spokesman said, “The common fisheries policy currently restricts our ability to implement tougher protection, but leaving the EU and taking back control of our waters as an independent coastal state means we can introduce stronger measures.”
Busy Time for Coastwatch
During the month of June Coastwatch St Monans were busy. They dealt with several calls including a cliff rescue, overdue kayakers, a broken down fishing boat, a dog in water, and persons rescue from rocks. Operations manager John Kinsman said, “With the easing of lockdown and more weekend visitors we can expect more call outs, so please be more careful out there.”
Coastwatch St Monans team John Kinsman, Anne Kinsman, John McLean, Bob McDonald, Cameron McDonanld, Karen Dodson are on 24/7 emergency call 365 days a year.
Check on Kayakers
At 11.30 am on Wednesday 24th June Coastwatch St Monans were requested by HM Coastguards to proceed to St Monans harbour to check on three kayakers reported to be having trouble off the harbour entrance.The three kayakers were located about 500 yards off the harbour entrance during a very low tide and were guided to safety by members if the St Monans Coastwatch team.
Coastwatch St Monans team who responded to the pager call were operations manager John Kinsman, deputy manager Anne Kinsman and team member Karen Dodson who attended at the harbour and on duty in Coastwatch St Monan’s look out station was deputy manager two John McLean. All kayakers were guided into harbour and landed safely.