FISHERMEN have described the conduct of Spanish gillnetters to the northwest of Shetland as “intolerable” after video footage was posted on social media showing a Spanish gillnetter attempting to run a rope through the propeller of a local whitefish trawler, reports Shetland News.
This latest video evidence takes the ongoing skirmishes over access to fishing grounds to a new level and highlights why the local fishing industry is so keen to leave the European Union and with it the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The battle between Spanish gillnetters and local trawlermen has been ongoing for a long time with most local whitefish boats reporting over the years that they have been at the receiving end of attempts to drive them out of their traditional fishing grounds.
Gillnets are entangling nets set in the sea and held in position by floaters. They can cover huge areas and thus prevent other fishermen to work in those areas.
Spanish fishermen counterclaim that Scottish whitefish boats deliberately trawl through the areas where nets have been set.
Last night, several fishermen posted video footage showing the German-registered and Spanish owned gillnetter Pesorsa Dos attempting to foul the propeller of one whitefish boat, the Alison Kay.
Reports from Thursday night state that there have been five or six attempts to disable the vessel by putting a rope through her propeller.
The Spanish vessels are fishing legally in Scottish waters as part of the CFP, but this behaviour has been condemned as “intimidating” and “breaking the fundamental rules of the sea”.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) executive officer Simon Collins said the incident would be reported to the authorities.
He described the behaviour of the gillnetter as “horrendous” and “intolerable”.
“Imagine, if we as Shetlanders would conduct ourselves in that way in Spanish waters, what would happen to us?
“We report these things to the authorities, we are working actively with Scottish Government on what we can do about it. But we don’t control the rules out there; once we do, we can try and find a solution to it.
“In the longer term we need to remove that problem altogether by severely restricting activities, once we are allowed to do that.”
The SFA is strongly opposing any attempts to extend the transition period for Brexit and it insists that the UK comes out of the EU by 31 December.
Trouble is we stick to the rules they never ever have done! Will never stop even if we get the waters back! They will poach them with impunity!!
send in our navy to ban them forever
This vessel is destroying the nets of a German vessel. He knows the location of the nets, znd continue to pass on top of them. Now he is with the AIS turned off, and passing braking the nets.
What rules? This vessel is cutting the nets of the German vessel. He knows the placement of the nets, snd still continues to do so with the AIS shutt down. At this exact moment.
Outrages behaviour from the Spanish gillnetters! Stay strong out there soon the obsolete rules of the EU will be in your rear mirror and Scottish Fishing can look forward to a bright prosperous future with much more opportunities for Scotland as you take back the reigns of your own waters.
Correction : The Spanish vessel is fishing, legally, in EU waters, not Scottish waters.
Hard to know who’s to blame. The Spanish /German vessel is hardly manoeuvring hard and you cant see the wake of the other vessel to see if it’s altered course towards the Spaniard/German. I used to work on the Navy’s fishery protection vessels and we were in the tuna war many years back down the trouser leg many 100’s of miles SW of Cornwall. The Spanish were using long lines with hooks and a Brit boat came along and dragged his nets right through them all before complaining on the radio he was being harassed. Our Captain asked him on VHF if he was taking the P1ss. Wonder if the Spaniard was fishing using quotas sold by the Brits?
No AIS, no answer on 16, no fishing, only look for cause damage.
The skipper is 100% right to protect his nets, trawlers are all to fast to pull away nets
Regarding most of the comments condoning the use of a heavy rope to disable and put the lives of the other vessel in possible danger appears to be from people who have no clue as to what’s been going on between EU boats and our fishing fleet.