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Mauritius Canneries Risk Reputation Damage Says Greenpeace Mauritius, April 18, 13

The Mauritian government should refuse port clearance for a South Korean ship accused of illegal fishing in West African waters, Greenpeace International said on Thursday in a letter to the country’s prime minister.
Greenpeace is putting pressure on the Mauritian authorities by stating: “If the Premier is allowed to unload its cargo of fish then Mauritius risks the reputation of the canneries and brands operating there because it is possible that illegally caught tuna will enter the Mauritian supply chain. We will be alerting businesses and consumers to this risk.”
Owned by Dongwon Industries, the tuna purse seine vessel Premier is sailing to Port Louis, where it has been given permission to enter by Mauritian authorities, despite the fact it has been accused by Liberia of illegal fishing off the coast of Africa. According to Greenpeace says the Premier was found to be using falsified letters claiming it had permission to fish in waters where no permission had been given. The Bureau of National Fisheries (BNF) in Liberia has confirmed that these letters were forged.

On March 18st Korea’s Tuna giant Dongwon, said in an email to Atuna.com in relation to the accusations of the Korean company ‘s seiner ‘F/V Premier’ fishing illegally in the Atlantic waters of Liberia, that the company has become the victim of a tuna fishing licensing scam in the African country. The company insists that the allegations of Dongwon being involved with IUU fishing are totally false, and that the company has always acted in good faith.

“The Mauritian government needs to follow other coastal states in the region that have already refused the vessels entry into their port. If Mauritius allows this vessel permission to enter it is a slap in the face of other states seriously fighting illegal fishing and a signal to the world that Port Louis is wide open for suspected illegal fishing operators. This would be an appalling move ahead of the IOTC meeting,” Greenpeace International oceans campaigner Oliver Knowles said. He is referring to the meeting that Mauritius will host next month and where issues to curb illegal fishing, compliance and sustainability of the regions tuna fisheries will be discussed.

Greenpeace International has sent a letter the Mauritian prime minister and the fisheries minister demanding the Premier be refused port entry and services. The action group says it “wants tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean to be managed sustainably and with transparency, so the region is protected from big tuna companies only interested in fast cash at the expense of a healthy marine environment”.