Tuna War: Lords say ban on drift net fishing cannot be justified - European Commission plan to outlaw nets 'is unbalanced'

AN ALL-PARTY Lords committee on drift net fishing has attacked a proposal by the European Commission that the use of the nets be banned by 1997.

Saying that there was no justification for a ban, the Lords accused the commission of issuing politically inspired proposals unsupported by scientific evidence.

As more Cornish, French and Irish fishermen head to the Bay of Biscay to fish for tuna, risking further confrontation with Spanish crews, the Lords have issued what amounts to a propaganda salvo in defence of drift net fishing.

Their report, issued on Monday, accuses the commission of issuing an 'unbalanced' proposal that 'lacked intellectual integrity and objectivity'.

A ban on the use of drift nets has long been advocated by environmental groups such as Greenpeace and by organisations like the Atlantic Salmon Trust, which makes the point that every salmon caught in a net is worth about pounds 20, but each fish caught on a rod is worth at least pounds 200. Netting salmon in the north-east of England generates less than pounds 2m for the economy, while Scottish salmon angling generates about pounds 50m.

The commission wants to end drift net fishing both on the high seas and within national 12-mile limits, on environmental grounds and to protect the livelihoods of fishing communities that use traditional methods of rod and line. Such a ban would affect the 10 British boats that turned to tuna fishing in recent years, and the coastal salmon fishery.

Long drift nets have already been outlawed by the United Nations because they kill a large number of dolphins and sharks. Their gills become entangled in the mesh and they drown. The carcasses are dumped.

It is estimated that more than 1,700 dolphins are caught annually by the 64 French vessels that fish for tuna.

For Italian boats fishing for swordfish in the Mediterranean, the statistics are worse. Swordfish account for only 18 per cent of the catch, which includes 74 species. As for the 'dolphin windows' used by British drift net fishermen, which are meant to allow mammals to escape unharmed, the Lords report said that it was still not known whether they are effective.

The Lords report said there was 'scant evidence' that the nets were causing over-fishing of tuna or damaging the dolphin population. As for the Spanish technique of fishing with poles, lines and live bait being 'dolphin-friendly', the Lords cited evidence from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to the effect that this technique 'poses a serious threat to sea birds'. There was evidence that guillemots, razorbills and occasionally puffins are caught in drift nets, especially those set by coastal fishermen catching salmon.

Evidence was presented that drift net fishing had caused a 60 per cent fall in salmon stocks over the past 30 years.

Suggested Topics
News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
News
news

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 pose for Children in Need 2001
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree is to be made into a series of films
film

Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree really is being made into a film

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
books

Review: Witty banalities aside, the comedian has an authentic voice

Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
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

Deputy Head of Science

£36000 - £60000 per annum: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client are a we...

IT Teacher

£22000 - £32000 per annum + TLR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client is...

Database Administrator

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

Science Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London