A Denmark-based vessel, the second-biggest fishing trawler in the world, discharged 100,000+ dead fishoff the French coast, into the Atlantic Ocean. The incident sent shockwaves throughout the country.
Annick Girardin, the minister of France fisheries said that the images were shocking. Giardin also mentioned that there would be a thorough examination whether it was a deliberate move.
The dump was executed early Thursday. It resulted from a rupture in the trawler’s net per Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association (PFA), a firm that represents the trawler’s owner. The group referred to the spill to be quite a “rare occurrence”.
Environmental activists have criticized such trawlers as they use drag nets, which are a kilometer long. They have also looked down upon processing fish in onboard factories.
The discharged fish were a sub-species of cod, blue whiting. It is typically used by the industry to mass-produce fish oil, fingers, and meal.
The French arm of Sea Shepherd, a campaign group, first published the photos of the dump, showing the ocean surface blanketed by almost 3,000 sq m.
Sea Shepherd points to it as making dolphins starve and forcing them to hunt closer to coasts. This makes sea mammals get trapped in fishing nets and die from asphyxia.
Environmental activists who had spotted the dump described it to be a “floating carpet” of dead fish.
Our campaign Operation Ocean Killers exposes the destructive fishing practices of the super trawlers operating in French waters off the Atlantic coast. The sheer amount of fish being removed from the ocean by these massive ships is simply shocking. 😱 #OpOceanKillers pic.twitter.com/Bs58W7KffQ
— Sea Shepherd (@seashepherd) February 9, 2022
The Guardian reported that a nonprofit marine conservation and activism organization named the Sea Shepherd France that it initially refused to believe that it was an accident.
The organization has reportedly said that the vessel dumped the fish deliberately as it was against processing, a practice known as discharging bycatch banned per EU fishing laws.