Greenpeace calls for overhaul of Pacific fishing practices after Nauru transshiment ban
Sydney.– Greenpeace Australia Pacific has called for aregion-wide ban on the transshipment of fish catches following Nauru’sannouncement today that it would no longer allow the practice in its waters.
The Government of theNauru issued the ban on transshipping in its waters outside its port, and iscalling on other Pacific Island Nations to do the same. A regular industrypractice that is largely unmonitored, transshipping involves fishing vessels -longliners – transferring their catch to ‘motherships’ to be taken and sold infar-away markets. This means that boats can stay out at sea for years, evadingchecks on their fishing practices and licenses, and the treatment of theircrew.
“Today’s announcementby Nauru is a shining example of the action that needs to be taken urgently toprotect our Pacific Islands,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific oceanscampaigner Lagi Toribau from aboard the Rainbow Warrior.
“The longlineindustry is chronically unregulated and poorly monitored, and the high seas arecurrently acting as loopholes for pirate fishing boats.
“Out here,overfishing is the norm. Many tuna stocks are already in trouble, and illegalfishing is only adding to that pressure,” he said.
Nauru is the thirdPacific country to ban the practice of transshipping, and their announcement isin response to last week’s bust by the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior of aTaiwanese longline boat fishing illegally in the high seas that border Nauru’snational waters.
Greenpeace is callingfor a complete overhaul of longline fisheries, including a ban on transshippingcatch, to bring them under better control and proper management. There are morethan 3,500 longline vessels currently authorised to fish by the Western andCentral Pacific Fisheries Commission.
“If fishing vesselshad to go to land to transfer their catch, it would solve many of the problemsout here in the Pacific. It would make it easier to properly account for andmanage these catches, and also boost the economies of Pacific Island countrieswhere the catches come from.
“If the fishingindustry is above board, they should have no problem with this solution. Weneed to put a stop to hiding dirty fishing practices out at sea.
“Although more than70 percent of the world’s tuna comes from the Pacific, only 20 percent of thatis actually caught by Pacific Island fleets. Industrial fishing has a hugeimpact on the Pacific Island countries that have relied on tuna forgenerations,” said Toribau.
In Fiji, localfishing vessels are mothballed and workers have been laid off. Local fisheriesin Samoa, Tonga and other Pacific Island nations are also suffering.