With the recent broadcast of the documentary ‘Atlantic’ on RTE attracting considerable interest we decided to take time to check on some of the really large super trawlers such as the Annelies Ilena and sure enough its active in the North Atlantic to the west of the Faroe Islands.
Interestingly having traced its fishing pattern we find that it is trawling around what’s called the ‘Faroe – Shetland Sponge Belt’ which just happens to be a Marine Protected Area.
Here’s the description:
“Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt MPA
Status: Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area (NCMPA)
The Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt MPA lies in offshore waters to the west of the Shetland Islands. The site is located on the Scottish side of the Faroe-Shetland Channel, a large rift basin that separates the Scottish and Faroese continental shelves.
Five different water masses meet in the Faroe-Shetland Channel, which interact with each other and the continental slope to generate ideal conditions for the boreal ‘ostur’ type of deep-sea sponge aggregations to settle. Offshore subtidal sands and gravels are also present, supporting a diversity of polychaete worms and a slow growing bivalve mollusc known as ocean quahog. The site contains an area of continental slope which could be important for maintaining the health and biodiversity of Scotland’s Seas.”
Now we presume that the Annelies Ilena is fishing legally as there is no effort being made to disguise her presence or fishing pattern.
That being the case you wonder what brains in the EU Fishery section sanctions this sort of activity in an area described as important for maintaining the health and biodiversity of the Seas.
The Annelies Ilena (formerly Atlantic Dawn) is the world’s largest trawler weighing a staggering 14055 tonnes and 144 metres in length. She is able to process 350 tonnes of fish a day, can carry 3,000 tons of fuel, and store 7,000 tons of graded and frozen catch. The vessel is so large it uses on board forklift trucks to aid discharging.
The vessel has form for breaking fishing regs and was arrested by the Irish Navy last year (see link):
We will be working over the next few days to track the 20+ leviathans of the sea and establish where they are and what they are up to.
The seas are a global resource and eco system we should not let greedy sectional interests be they in certain EU nations, China or Russia destroy them.
Image: Annelies Ilena the worlds largest trawler.
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch
Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.