“It is a disgrace that these ships are allowed into British waters. I know that the Marine Management Organisation boarded the Margiris in the Channel.
“However, without full-time observers on board, no-one knows what these things are catching and killing. In terms of damage to the ecosystem, fishermen often say that it’s not what you catch, but what you kill!”
A Defra spokeswoman said: “The UK is a global leader in the fight to protect our seas, with our ‘Blue Belt’ of protected waters nearly twice the size of England.
“Currently the Common Fisheries Policy restricts our ability to implement tougher protections but leaving the EU and taking back control of our waters as an independent coastal state gives us the opportunity to introduce stronger measures.”