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Greenpeace lodges legal complaint against Dutch owners of super trawler for dumping 1.5 million kilo of fish in the ocean

Press release - March 28, 2013
Amsterdam – Greenpeace has lodged a legal complaint with the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authorities (NVWA) against the Dutch fishing company Parlevliet & Van Der Plas.

Greenpeace was given two parallel log books that show that a super trawler belonging to Parlevliet discarded 1.5 million kilo of dead herring during a fishing trip lasting only three weeks last year. “The fish in question were perfectly edible, but they were dumped in the ocean simply because the company knew they would come across better herring. This is illegal under EU law and highly destructive to nature. We want this case to be fully investigated by the NVWA” stated Greenpeace campaigner Pavel Klinckhamers.

Parlevliet & Van der Plas fishing vessels are obliged to provide all catch data in an official logbook. This is to ensure that that company sticks to fishing quotas. Greenpeace acquired the official and one unofficial log book from a whistleblower, who formally worked on the super trawler ‘Jan-Maria’ as second mate . The logbooks show that the official figures have been tampered with. “On several occasions, over one hundred thousand kilos of fish per day were not registered in the actual official documents, but visible in the unofficial document. During one three week trip, Parlevliet fished around one and a half million kg more fish than was officially declared. This is no longer a case of a small mistake but a case of a huge scam.

The difference between what is actually caught by the vessel and what was landed is about 25%. The dumping of perfectly edible fish to increase profits is called 'high grading' and is prohibited under EU law. “But for these enormous trawlers it seems to be a piece of cake to hide this illegality from authorities” says Klinckhamers from Greenpeace. “What’s even worse is that Parlevliet & Van der Plas constantly emphasizes how they fish according to the rules, but in reality they are lying

The  ‘Jan Maria’ is a super trawler, which sails under German flag and is a subsidiary of Parlevliet & Van der Plas. Former second mate, Andreas Mehmecke, has lodged a legal complaint in his own right at the German Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung(BLE). Mehmecke says: "On one side of the world there are people that are struggling due to the food crisis, while here, huge quantities of good fish are being wasted. That, we cannot accept.