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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
"Dont allow the pirate ship in"
Greenpeace and Environmental Justice Foundation tell Spanish authorities to keep out vessel with stolen fish from West African waters
As a pirate fishing vessel loaded with fish stolen from West Africa makes its way towards Las Palmas, Greenpeace and the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) yesterday presented evidence to the Fisheries Ministry in Madrid, outlining why the authorities should ban the ship from the port when it arrives - in two or three days time.
The environmental and human rights groups documented the refrigerated cargo ship (reefer), Binar 4 (1) four days ago, transshipping fish in international waters. The fish had been caught in Guinean waters, and therefore should only have been transshipped in the port of Conakry according to Guinean law (2). The reefer is headed for Las Palmas, a port notorious for allowing pirate vessels to offload stolen fish, with the Greenpeace ship M.Y Esperanza following behind.
"This is Spains chance to prove they are serious about making piracy history," said Sebastian Losada of Greenpeace Spain, after delivering the documents to officials in Madrid. "If they do not act, they will become partners in crime with the pirates."
During the time spent by the Esperanza was in West Africa, Greenpeace and EJF witnessed 104 foreign flagged vessels, from Korea, China, Italy, Liberia and Belize. The evidence gathered suggests that 50% of the vessels observed were engaged in, or linked to illegal fishing activities, including fishing without a license, operating with no name or hiding their identity, trawling inside the 12-mile zone restricted to local fishermen, or transshipping anywhere other than the Guinean capital Conakry. The Binar 4 was taking fish from ships licensed to fish, but all the vessels involved had broken the laws concerning transshipments.
"In the past few weeks we have begun to unravel the web of deceit around pirate fishing," said Greenpeace campaigner Sarah Duthie, from on board the Esperanza. "The way the legal and illegal ships work together is designed to deceive, but in the end it is a simple case of stealing food from others."
"Unless there is concrete and sustained action against pirate fishing by all governments the problem will continue to grow," warned Helene Bours of Environmental Justice Foundation. "Local communities and the environment will not survive unless the pirate fishing industry is wiped out."
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East Asia/South Korea