A MONSTER trawler has been spotted off the South coast — sparking fears it will “devastate” British fish stocks.
Banned by Australia, the 6,200-ton Lithuanian-registered Margiris is the world’s second largest trawler.
In the past days, MarineTraffic website has tracked it off Sussex.
Campaigners believe the “floating factory” — which can process 250 tons of fish a day — is targeting mackerel and may have caused recent dolphin deaths.
John Hourston, of Blue Planet Society, said: “If you get a trawler like this that’s been there for five days, sweeping up and down, the mackerel disappear and it has British fishermen up in arms.”
He also warned such super-trawlers will “come into contact” with dolphins, endangered bluefin tuna and overfished sea bass.
He added: “We need observers and CCTV to prove they are responsible for dolphin deaths.”
The European Commission, which governs fishing in the Channel, urged anyone with suspicions to report “concrete facts”.
The Margiris’s Dutch owner Parlevliet van der Plas says on its website it has an “excellent reputation for sustainable fishing” and the EU sets its catch quotas.
Clive Fennell, who lives in Littlehampton in West Sussex and runs the Littlehampton Environment and Places Facebook page, said he fears the supertrawler will have a “devastating” effect on local fish supplies.
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Greenpeace Australia said of the Margiris when it was refused fishing licences: “Like most Australians, we’re happy to see the back of it.”
Greenpeace protesters confronted the monster trawler – previously known as Abel Tasman – in West Africa in March 2012 and in the Netherlands and Australia in 2013.
A spokesman said at the time: “We share the view of the small-scale fishers whose livelihoods would be destroyed by monster boats like the Abel Tasman: no monster boats here, not anywhere.”
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