Big fishes in the net

  • 14/08/1992

Big fishes in the net A green war raging at sea is the use of driftnets by fishing fleets. Driftnets have been called "walls of deaths" by conservationists as these immense nets, at times 40 km long, strip mine the oceans. The US has already enacted legislation to prohibit trade in fish caught by driftnets. The EC is divided -- most countries favour the ban but others are torn between industry and altruism. Italy, for instance, bowed to pressure from the fishing industry and allows driftnetting in territorial waters. Recently, South African environmentalists threatened a boycott of Mauritius' tourism industry, unless it stopped using driftnets. Mauritius gave in. On the other hand, Japan and Taiwan, reluctant to give in to global pressure, defend driftnetting on the grounds of scientific uncertainty regarding the adverse effects of the practice. Pressured by New Zealand and Australia to ban driftnetting, the Japanese response was, "New Zealanders just know about sheep and cows." However, the threat of trade sanctions has worked for the UN General Assembly has called for a complete moratorium on driftnet fishing by December

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