Former Senate Majority Leader Lott: It’s a challenge to run the Senate when it’s 50-50 – Yahoo News

The Telegraph

UK cannot take back control of waters from super trawlers

Supertrawlers will be free to plunder Britain’s waters after Brexit, government sources have admitted, as they do not have the powers to implement a blanket ban. Many hoped that leaving the EU would also mean waving goodbye to their massive boats, which throw nets up to a mile long into the sea and are blamed for environmental destruction. Since we officially left the EU, supertrawlers including the Margiris, which is banned in Australia after being accused of depleting fish stocks, have been fishing off the coast of the UK. Government sources said that they cannot “exclude these boats altogether”, and can only currently legislate in terms of the type of fishing they do. This means that in Marine Protected Areas (MPA) they can ban fishing methods including bottom trawling, but will not legislate in terms of the size of the vessel or its nets. The Government source said: “Crucially, there is no formal definition of what a supertrawler is. In the media, it has come to be known as a vessel that is over 100m in length. “Supertrawlers are pelagic trawlers whose nets do not touch the seabed, so generally don’t cause damage to seabed features. “Marine Protected Areas are set up to protect specific seabed habitats and species. MPAs usually aren’t a suitable conservation mechanism for the highly mobile fish that supertrawlers are catching. Measures that will work to protect those fish need to apply across their full range, such as quotas.” Conservative MPs have asked Boris Johnson to reassess this, and work to ban the boats completely from our waters. Henry Smith, Conservative MP for Crawley, told The Telegraph he plans to table a parliamentary question to ask why these boats are still fishing in our waters. He said: “My position is quite clear – I welcome the ban on electric pulse fishing but I think this is a great opportunity to ban supertrawlers which are incredibly damaging and it would be popular with British fishermen, the public at large and its something we need to do to protect our coastal waters. I pay tribute to the Government for their work so far but we should back it up with a ban on supertrawlers. A lot has been made in the Brexit debate about following the Australian example – and this is a great example of how we should do that!” Sir David Amess MP, Patron of Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation said: “It is time to ban EU industrial fishing super trawlers and protect our sea bed and marine habitats from the huge damage these massive vessels inflict upon our marine wildlife. There have been reports of supertrawlers causing the deaths of seals, porpoises and dolphins in UK waters. We need to take immediate action to end this destruction”. Those inside the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs instead pointed to their plans to force boats to use CCTV so bycatch can be monitored. This, they said, was likely to hamper the work of supertrawlers, which by virtue of their large nets cannot fail to catch large amounts of protected and non-target species. Then, if the boats are found to be taking dolphins and other important species from the water to be thrown back dead or injured, they could be prohibited from fishing in our waters. The Government is also consulting on whether to ban more types of fishing from marine protected areas. Campaigners have said this is not good enough and called for the Government to deliver a unilateral ban on supertrawlers in marine protected areas. Chris Thorne, an oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Failing to deliver a supertrawler ban in the UK’s protected areas would be a devastating blow to our coastal communities and to our oceans. For years now, this government has highlighted the opportunity of Brexit to deliver on its promise to be a world leader in marine protection. Brexit has now happened, but still destructive supertrawlers are allowed to plunder our supposedly protected areas with impunity. “This is a far cry from this government’s promise to ‘take back control of our seas’. With the Government’s new fishing licensing powers in the Fisheries Act 2020, Ministers could decide to restrict destructive industrial fishing boats from our protected areas tomorrow, if they had the political will. The British public overwhelmingly backs a ban on supertrawler operations in protected areas. Politicians must now step up, or they will leave our coastal communities and our oceans high and dry.”

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Former Senate Majority Leader Lott: It’s a challenge to run the Senate when it’s 50-50 – Yahoo News

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