Stop Robbing The Pacific People
“Pacific Islanders say the oceans are not what divides us but joins us.
So join us on this incredible journey as there will be a story to tell everyday by logging on to http://oceans.greenpeace.org/en,”
Sydney, Australia. September 4, 2006. Millions of dollars in fish are being transhiped from the Pacific and it is time relevant authorities take action.
Defending Our Oceans (DOO) Project Coordinator Nilesh Goundar made the comments following revelations by the New Britian Governor Leo Dion that Papua New Guinea is losing millions of kina through fish being transhipped .
Mr Goundar said transhipments were rife in the Pacific waters and is one of the contributors to the depletion of fish stocks in the region.
Greenpeace last month launched a science report which revealed that Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna are critically overfished.
Mr Goundar said this science report has made 10 recommendations and Papua New Guinea’s plight gives credence to this.
One of the recommendations is calling for an end to at sea transhipments.
Greenpeace on Sunday (Sept 3) launched the Pacific leg of a 15 month ship expedition on board the M.Y Esperanza, highlighting the beauty of the oceans and exposing the threats they face, the greatest of which is overfishing.
Mr Goundar called for an immediate ban on all transhipments at sea.
“We must stop this robbing of the Pacific people as fish is their economic and human resource - a robust catch and trade verification scheme which facilitates an effective eco-labelling program must immediately be put in place, ” he said.
Mr Goundar called on the Pacific states to stop licensing vessels which do not have a centralised vessel monitoring system, whether on the high seas or in an Economic Exclusive Zone(EEZ).
“There has to be a move to build good governance within the region that includes strong domestic legislation, engagement of stakeholders in decision making and transparent and accountable fisheries management,” he said.
Mr Goundar called on Pacific Island states to immediately take action against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) or pirate fishing vessels that use flags of non-compliance with no genuine link to the flag state that are considered stateless vessels.
“ Patrols and port inspections that encounter pirate activity by such vessels should board and inspect these vessels. If documents show there is no genuine link, arrest them, confiscate catch and start criminal proceedings as if these vessels are flagged to the coastal or port state,” he said.
Mr Goundar said Greenpeace’s six point plan calls for:
All supermarkets, fish markets and fishmongers need to be able to prove they are not handling stolen goods, by being able to trace the history of the fish they sell. Suppliers who cannot, should not be allowed to sell the fish on to consumers.
Fishing boats should be controlled through electronic surveillance and governments must take responsibility for the activities of their boats. The authorities must immediately share information to stop pirate catches getting into the market.
Often illegal boats never come into port and instead tranship their fish at sea – if this practice was made illegal it would be harder for pirates to move their illegal catches around the globe.
Some boats and companies are caught time and again breaking the rules. These boats should be named on a single, publicly available list so all nations are able to refuse them services or prevent them from landing their catches.
International aid and assistance should be given to developing nations to protect their rich fishing grounds from the pirate fleets. As fishing grounds in the Northern hemisphere have been fished out, fishing boats have moved further South, into the waters of poorer countries that are not equipped to fully protect their fisheries.
DOO Communications Coordinator Josephine Prasad said the DOO voyage is the single largest expedition that Greenpeace has ever undertaken.
“This incredible year-long journey will tell the story of the crisis facing our oceans from the Southern Ocean to the North Sea and takes you to places few humans have been, confront the villains and promote solutions,” she said.
“Pacific Islanders say the oceans is not what divides us but joins us. So join us on this incredible journey as there will be a story to tell everyday by logging on to http://oceans.greenpeace.org/en,” .
Miss Prasad said the M.Y Esperanza’s sister ship M.Y Arctic Sunrise is also exposing the hidden face of pirate fishing of the North and Baltic Seas.
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future.