Data loading...

Activists Want Closure Of EU Market To Fish Transshipped At Sea West Africa, April 2, 13

A briefing with documented evidence of vessels illegally transshipping fish at sea has been released by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). It exposes the connection between the transfer of fish and illegal “pirate” fishing and also exposes traceability and transparency flaws, which allow laundered fish to penetrate the European market.
There is a global annual loss estimated between USD 10 billion and USD 23.5 billion because of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, according to the EJF. West African waters have the highest levels of IUU fishing and it represents up to 37 percent of the region’s catch; in West Africa, this problem also severely compromises food security and the livelihoods of coastal communities as well as marine health.
There is verification that the transshipment of fish from one vessel to another frequently facilitates the laundering of IUU fish because coastal and flag State authorities cannot monitor how, by whom and where transferred fish was sourced. EFJ has obtained this proof during its efforts to eliminate IUU fishing in West Africa.
Via the transshipment, this fish can then enter the EU market because there was no detection to keep pirate fishers at bay. Developing coastal countries lack the logistical capacity to inspect vessels at sea before the transshipments take place and thereby ensure that the fish has been caught legally.
According to Steve Trent, Executive Director of EJF, “The complications involved in monitoring large-scale transfers of fish at sea, mean that any transshipment of fish from one vessel to another can currently obscure illegal activities. Transshipment adds to the opacity in global fisheries that enables pirate fishers to operate in the shadows, far from supervision and regulation.”
He said “Fish is being caught illegally in the waters of West Africa, transshipped at sea and ‘laundered’ under a legal vessel’s paperwork to end up on our plates in Europe.” “EJF is calling for urgent action to address the issue and ban transshipment at sea, which is hindering the transparency required for global fisheries to be managed effectively and fairly.”
In its briefing, the EJF briefing is encouraging the EU to close access to the European market for fish that was transshipped at sea without effective monitoring. It is giving recommendations for urgent action, such as asking Coastal States to ban transshipment at sea and collaborate with neighboring countries and international partners to control their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).