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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Greenpeace demands immediate scrapping of four Portuguese Pirate Vessels
Aveiro, Portugal - Greenpeace divers have chained the propellers of four vessels with a history of pirate fishing to the quayside in the port of Aveiro (Portugal). Hoisting banners demanding "Scrap these Pirates", Greenpeace is calling on the Portuguese Minister of Fisheries to ensure that they will not be able to fish again.
Greenpeace will hand over the keys to the lock chaining the vessels Red, Caribe, Brites and Aveirense to the dockside to the port authorities of Aveiro. The vessels are owned by Grupo Silva Vieira, and all have track records of involvement in pirate fishing ' IUU (1), including fishing without a flag or legal quota, using illegal gear, using multiple identities, and other breaches of international regulations.
Today's action comes just a few weeks after Greenpeace International launched its 'IUU blacklist', an international online database of vessels involved in pirate fishing, and the companies that own them (2). All four ships chained today, as well as their owner, are included in the Greenpeace blacklist.
The Red - formerly known as Joana, Kabou and Lootus - is also officially blacklisted by the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) (3) and the EU. As a Contracting Party of NEAFC, Portugal must adhere to the conditions imposed on blacklisted ships, including refusal to provide services and landing rights.
"It is outrageous that pirate vessels are still receiving services in European harbours and are able to continue fishing illegally, despite current legislation," said Farah Obaidullah, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner. "The fact that a vessel blacklisted by the EU has received docking permission and services demonstrates the lack of political will by the Portuguese authorities to tackle pirate fishing."
Greenpeace is calling on governments to live up to their commitments to combat illegal fishing by ensuring that vessels that continue to act illegally are scrapped. Governments worldwide must strengthen the implementation and enforcement of existing rules.
"The only way to effectively stamp out pirate fishing is through much better international coordination and information-sharing to make sure there is greater transparency in the fishing industry," Obaidullah continued. "A key part of this will be setting up an official global online record of fishing vessels that includes a blacklist of those vessels and companies involved in illegal practices. Existing regional lists are limited and disparate in the way they work, and do not allow for a concerted global effort to fight pirate fishing."
Setting strong international standards for port states through the adoption of a legally-binding agreement would be another huge step forward in eliminating the so-called "Ports of Convenience". Only by ensuring that countries strictly monitor fishing vessels entering their ports will it be possible to block the flows of revenue that continue to sustain unscrupulous operators. In addition, strong market measures to reject pirate-caught fish need to be introduced, and Greenpeace urges retailers and seafood traders to ensure that they do not purchase pirate-caught fish or trade with companies listed as operators of pirate vessels.
Governments must work together to address pirate fishing and establish a worldwide network of marine reserves to restore fish stocks. Greenpeace advocates the creation of an effectively enforced network of marine reserves, protecting 40% of the world's oceans - with regulated, sustainable fishing in other areas - as the long-term solution to overfishing and the recovery of marine life in our overexploited oceans.
Notes to editors
(1) Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing - often referred to as "pirate fishing" - is a multi-billion dollar business that seriously undermines all efforts to protect and manage fish stocks, and has a devastating effect on the biodiversity of marine ecosystems already under severe threat by massive global overfishing.
(2) Database of fishing vessels and companies engaged in IUU Fishing, www.blacklist.greenpeace.org. The database includes independent observations from the legal fishing industry, government authorities, and first-hand evidence from Greenpeace and other NGOs that have recorded the activities of these vessels and companies at sea and in ports around the world.
(3) See http://neafc.org/measures/iuu-a-list. The NEAFC is the body responsible for the management of fishing activities in the North East Atlantic and also has its own database of vessels from non contracting parties that have been observed engaging in IUU.
For more information about these vessels, click here.
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Issues/Port state issues