12 May 2008

Greenpeace calls for end of transshipment at sea

1:49 pm on 12 May 2008

Greenpeace is calling for an end to exemptions for transfer of fish at sea because it is a major loophole for pirate fishing in the Pacific.

The Philippines is allowed to have its flagged vessels to do their transfers at sea, but the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza found an illegal tuna fishing vessel from the Philippines with juvenile yellow tuna and very small size skipjack catches on board.

Lagi Toribau of Greenpeace says the boat raised suspicions when it was located next to two legally flagged boats from the Philippines in the early hours of last Friday.

Mr Toribau says Greenpeace has advised the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

"There's no way that any of our coastal countries and the local authorities even knew that this was happening. And this is hundreds and thousands of tonnes of tuna that are taken literally every day without no one knowing. So the best way to do it is to just close off the high seas, ban any allowing of activity, particularly transhipment at sea, and only require them to be done in port so they are properly monitored."

Lagi Toribau says he hopes the matter will be addressed by the Council at its next meeting in Guam.