• UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew has accused the French supermarket chain, Intermarché of being responsible for bottom trawling some endangered species of fish to the point of extinction, utilising subsidies from the UK taxpayer. Stuart Agnew, the UKIP MEP, made his charge during a debate on deep sea trawling, in the European Parliament’s fisheries committee (17.06.2013).
Mr Agnew referred to the Scapeche fleet, owned by Intermarché (comparable to Sainsburys or Morrisons), which consists of six French deep sea trawlers fishing in what used to be UK fishing waters. The EU subsidy “makes it possible to trawl the deep oceans for monkfish and grenadier and sell them for whatever the market will pay. But what else is being caught at the same time? Gulper sharks and spongy dogfish, both of which are in critical danger of extinction.”
He pointed out that figures from the French Tribunal of Commerce demonstrate that, despite the large EU subsidies, “….the enterprise is not profitable. There are two villains in this saga – the European Commission for presiding over such a tragedy and Intermarché, via Scapeche, for actually taking part in it. It takes two to tango and, fittingly, the last tango was in Paris.”
Mr Agnew ended his remarks by asking Mr Le Visage, Deputy MD of Scapeche, as a representative of Intermarché, whether he would be willing to label the deep sea species on the supermarket shelves as: ‘taken from the oceans along with other species that will become extinct as a result, with the unwitting connivance of the British taxpayer’.”
Mr Le Visage responded with a very unconvincing defence of the subsidy system and attempted to suggest that the UK benefits because most of the fish are landed in UK ports.