Photo: Dos Winkel

High-tech industrial fishing, no single fish is safe any more

The fishing industry has grown hugely in recent decades. Nets have grown increasingly bigger and can be linked up to create lengths of 90 kilometres, on which 50,000 hooks hang. Boats have become bigger and more powerful. Helicopters are used to track schools of fish. Technological aids such as radar, sonar, GPS, satellites and bait (DAF’s) make it increasingly easy to track schools. These developments have led to a worrying situation.

All these techniques and increases in capacity are made possible with the help of grants. Subsidies to purchase new boats, subsidies on fuel, on employment, tax advantages, etc. Japan gives € 2 to 3 billion in subsidises to its fleets each year.

Driftnets hang vertically in the sea on buoys. The fish swim against the nets, get snared and are easy to catch. The fishermen put down nets that reach up to several kilometres long, they wait a while and then bring the net in over a rubber roll. Salmon, pollack and herring are caught using driftnets. Apart from these driftnets there are also trawl nets that sweep up everything in their way. To compare imagine the damage you would do if you were to use the same method on the land razing whole fields, towns and woodlands to the ground in your search for a few cows.