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Greenpeace: 'Monster Boats' Overfish Oceans

FILE - A fisherman on a Boulogne-sur-Mer-based trawler prepares to raise nets off the coast of northern France, Oct. 21, 2013.

An environmental group has accused 20 European vessels of dangerously overfishing the world's oceans.

In a report titled Monster Boats: The Scourge of the Oceans, issued Tuesday in Brussels, Greenpeace said the boats use “alarming” fishing methods. It concluded that “our oceans and fish stocks are in deep crisis with too many large and destructive vessels chasing too few fish."

Among the named boats are five flying a Spanish flag, two of them owned by Spanish fishing giant Albacora S.A.

Four other named vessels are owned by the Dutch firm Parlevliet en Van der Plas BV; one flies a Dutch flag, two a German flag and one a Lithuanian flag.

The rest of the 20 are vessels flying the flags of Britain, Denmark, France, Poland, Portugal and Sweden.

Greenpeace described what it said were techniques used by these “industrial fishing barons” to “circumvent regulations” and maximize profit. The environmental group said the techniques included "frequent flag changes ... the use of front companies and tax havens and taking advantage of personal connections to decision-makers."

The organization blamed European Union ministers who oversee the fishing industry and other decision-makers around the world for allowing overfishing with impunity.

Greenpeace suggested that the vessels violate the EU's new fishing rules, which specify that "governments should promote responsible, low-impact fishing."

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