UK boat 'used illegal tuna net'

A ROYAL NAVY ship yesterday seized fishing gear from a British tuna trawler in the Bay of Biscay that was suspected of breaching European rules by using an illegally long drift net.

The Charisma from Padstow, Cornwall, was boarded by naval officers and inspectors from the fisheries protection vessel HMS Anglesey on Wednesday night and yesterday morning.

After inspecting her drift net it was sealed and a member of the Anglesey's crew left on board to see it was not tampered with. The fishing boat then headed back for Britain and there will be a further inspection when she docks. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, her master could be fined up to pounds 5,000 if prosecuted and found guilty of breaching European Union rules.

The fact that the British authorities suspect a Cornish boat of cheating is a fillip for the Spanish fishermen who have threatened the small British tuna fleet and cut the drift nets of three vessels.

Spain's director of fishing, Rafael Conde, said he was confident the action by HMS Anglesey would help defuse the situation.

Barrie Ball, owner of the Charisma, whose son, also Barrie, was in charge of the trawler, said: 'I can't think of anything that could possibly be wrong with the boat. There's no way I'd send my son down there with all this trouble unless everything was 100 per cent legal.'

The ministry said the action taken by HMS Anglesey showed that Britain's own monitoring and

regulation of its fishing vessels was working. 'Even if it is established that a British vessel has broken the rules there's absolutely no excuse for intimidation and violence at sea,' said a spokeswoman.

The Spaniards, who use lines, hooks and live bait to catch albacore tuna, resent the French, Irish and British fishermen who began using using the more efficient drift nets a few years ago. They believe their livelihoods are threatened and that the rival fishermen are breaking a European Union regulation which outlaws drift nets longer than 2.5km (1.6 miles).

The Cornishmen say their nets, which hang in the water like enormous curtains, are interspersed with large gaps through which dolphins and porpoises can escape. The line of buoys from which they are suspended may appear to be

6km long but the total length of net is only 2.5km, they say.

The albacore tuna migrate into the Bay of Biscay in late July. The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is now in the fishing area to register the environmental group's protest against drift netting.

The nets entangle all other larger fish and marine life swimming into them. The French drift net fleet - the largest in the North East Atlantic - is estimated to have drowned more than 12,000 dolphins since it got under way in the late 1980s. Even more sharks have been killed.

The European Commission wants all drift netting phased out over the next few years, but has not got the backing of EU member states. It argues that the drift net fishery is environmentally destructive, liable to expand rapidly and difficult to police.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)