Greenpeace activists prevent European supertrawler from plundering the oceans

Press release - January 31, 2012
Ijmuiden, The Netherlands - Today, Greenpeace activists from the Netherlands and Germany prevented one of Europe’s largest fishing vessels, the Maartje Theadora, from leaving port in Ijmuiden, in The Netherlands. The activists secured the 140-metre long German-flagged vessel to its mooring site with a cable, stopping it from engaging in yet another expedition to plunder the world’s oceans.

It takes only one day for supertrawlers like the Maartje Theadora (seen here blocked in port by activsts in the Netherlands) to catch what 56 African pirogues catch in a year.


As a consequence of a systematically mismanaged fisheries policy and a bloated and destructive European fishing fleet, 75 % of commercial fish stocks in EU waters are overfished. For this reason, the same giant fishing fleet that caused fish stocks to decline so dramatically is now scouring the distant seas with enormous nets and high-tech equipment to catch the last remaining fish.

“This giant trawler stays at sea for weeks, catching and processing 200 tonnes of fish every day. She is one of the worst examples of the mismatch between the huge floating fish factories in the European fleet and the almost exhausted European seas,” said Pavel Klinckhamers, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace in The Netherlands.

Last week, research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) exposed the massive plunder of Jack Mackerel in the South Pacific, which has brought the stock to the brink of collapse [1]. The Maartje Theadora has been to the South Pacific every year for the last five years, but with stocks now severely depleted, it is likely to search for new fishing grounds.

Supertrawlers like the Maartje Theadora are subsidised by European taxpayers to plunder the oceans in Europe and abroad, under unsustainable EU fishing rules. The EU is undergoing a once-in-a-decade review of these rules, known as the common fisheries policy. Greenpeace is urging fisheries ministers in the EU to bring their fleets in line with what the oceans are able to sustain.

“Until now, EU fishing rules have been biased in favour of destructive industrial fishing. European governments must put an end to this or supertrawlers like the Maartje Theadora will destroy the oceans and rob fishermen of their future,said Klinckhamers. “The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy could very well be the last chance to stop overfishing, restore the seas and keep sustainable fishermen in business.”

Note to editors: [1] 'Free-for-all' decimates fish stocks in the southern Pacific – ICIJ:

For more information and images:
Pavel Klinckhamers – Greenpeace oceans campaigner, The Netherlands: +31 6 2900 1153
Jaap Oppenhuizen – Greenpeace press officer, The Netherlands: +31 6 25031014

For breaking news and comment on EU affairs:

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.