Paris-France and the European Union are investigating why a large number of dead fish were released by a giant trawler in the Atlantic Ocean off France after an environmental group released dramatic videos and photos of the incident.
Images by the Sea Shepherd group show a blanket of dead blue whitening fish floating on the surface of the Bay of Biscay off the southwestern coast of France. The group estimates that it had about 100,000 dead fish.
French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin was impressed with the “shocking” images and tweeted on Friday that he ordered the National Fisheries Surveillance Center to investigate what had happened.
Virginijus Sinkevičius of the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries has released an investigation into “a flag state presumed to be the national authority for fishing grounds to obtain in-depth information and evidence on this incident.”
The Lithuanian Frozen Trawler Association, which represents the Lithuanian registered trawler Margiris, said on Thursday that the fish were “unknowingly released into the sea” due to a tear in the trawler’s net.
“Such an accident is rare, and in this case it was due to an unexpectedly large size of fish being caught,” he said. The trawler said it had adapted its practices to deal with “the extraordinary size of fish currently inhabiting the area.”
However, Sea Shepherd wondered if it was an accident or if he intentionally dumped unnecessary fish. The group calls for increased security of the ocean, especially large industrial trawlers, to protect marine life and the ocean.