Cutter fishermen to court because of Greenpeace action

The organisation of cutter fishermen VisNed has filed a complaint against Greenpeace. The British branch of the environmental organisation has dumped rocks on the Dogger Bank, a sandbank in the British part of the North Sea.

According to Greenpeace, this is a protected area, but the British Government refuses to take action against trawling there. This would cause great damage to nature.


VisNed and also the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality say that Greenpeace puts fishermen in danger. Nets and gear can get stuck and get damaged. If a stone comes on board, the crew may be injured, VisNed writes in a press release.

VisNed also fights that no fishing is allowed on the Dogger Bank. Procedures are underway in Brussels to protect areas, Greenpeace must wait for this, just like everyone else

The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality told the ANP press agency that Greenpeace must resolve the conflict at the meeting table.

Completely safe

According to Greenpeace Netherlands, the authorities have been told exactly where the boulders are. If the fishermen stay away from there, there will be no damage to the nets, the action will be completely safe and nature will be protected, according to Greenpeace.

The boulders were dumped into the sea from a ship sailing under the Dutch flag. VisNed has therefore filed a report in the Netherlands.

Previous cases

In 2015, VisNed was wrong in a similar case. At that time, Greenpeace had thrown boulders into the sea northwest of Den Helder, in protest against the ‘failing’ protection of the North Sea. At that time too, Greenpeace had announced the location of the boulders

The court in Amsterdam then said that fishermen could easily avoid the large stones because they knew where they were. In addition, they were lying at great depths, ruling out collisions.

In 2011, the then State Secretary for the Environment, Greenpeace, imposed a penalty payment of EUR 200,000 to prevent a similar action from being repeated. Three years later, the Council of State struck out three years later.