ENVIRONMENTAL protection group Oceana
says it has intercepted two illegal driftnetters off the Italian coast.
The San Francesco and the Tania were said to be fishing with nets that were longer and at a greater distance from the coast than the European and Italian legislation allows.
Oceana add that the Tania is one of the fishing boats that had been arrested in this same area the week before by a patrol boat of the Italian Guardia Costiera, and its nets had been confiscated. Hardly a week later, they say, it was again fishing in a prohibited area and with a driftnet.
Moreover,they say Tania is one of the boats that received subsidies from the European Union to stop using driftnets; specifically it received 27,644 euros, which were apparently pocketed without the illegal nets being replaced by a more selective fishing gear. The recent arrest of the Tania by the Italian Guardia Costiera is a clear indication of its illegal behaviour.
“The insolence with which these boats act, violating not only European but also Italian legislation seems to indicate that the efforts of the Guardia Costiera and the Guarda di Finanza to have the laws obeyed will not have any effect until Italian politicians properly regulate aspects such as the sanctions for the lawbreakers, the loss of licences, storage or destruction of the confiscated nets so that they do not again turn up in the hands of fishermen and the prohibition of carrying on board more than one kind of fishing gear so as to trick the inspectors”, said oceanographer, Xavier Pastor, the Head of Oceana in Europe.
“The European regulations indicate clearly, furthermore, that no boat may carry a prohibited net on board, even if the shipowner states that he has no intention of using it. This community legislation cannot continue to be ignored in Italy. The authorities must confiscate any illegal net that they see on a boat. At sea and in port”, concludes Xavier Pastor.
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