INDEPENDENT NEWS

Pirate Vessel In Port Of Suva

Published: Thu 19 Oct 2006 10:58 AM
GREENPEACE MEDIA RELEASE
Pirate Vessel In Port Of Suva
SUVA, FIJI ISLANDS. OCTOBER 18, 2006 The Wen Teng No 688 a pirate vessel black-listed under the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATCC) (1)is in the port of Suva said Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Team Leader Nilesh Goundar.
She has been listed by the IATCC since June 2005 at their annual meeting in Lanzarotte Spain listed as carrying out pirate activites in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Mr Goundar said Josua Turaganivalu of Greenpeace, on October 12, 2006 photographed(2) it as Mahkoia Abadi and upon closer inspection saw that it was the Weng Teng No 688.
Four days later Mr Turaganivalu while on port watch saw crew members scraping and painting another name on it.
Beside the suspected pirate vessel is another vessel identified by its call-sign BJ4655 which is not registered under the Forum Fisheries Agency registry(3) and belongs to the same company.
Mr Goundar said they alerted respective authorities this afternoon.
“It is public knowledge the key threat to sustainability of fish stocks is compounded by pirate or IUU (Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing),” he said
Mr Goundar called on authorities to investigate why such vessels are here and what they are doing.
“If they are deemed to be pirate vessels they should be arrested, prosecuted, black-listed regionally and internationally and all their sister ships investigated,” he said.
Despite right aspirations Mr Goundar said the political will of Pacific peoples and governments to strengthen Monitoring Controlling Surveillance (MCS) (4)systems, Pacific Islands have the stark realities of poor infrastructure, lack of capacity, limited, over-stretched resources and competing development priorities to deal with and balance.
“The fact that pirate operations are vague, secretive, thrive on loopholes making them hard to detect makes monitoring, compliance and surveillance even more difficult,” he said.
Greenpeace has recently launched a science report(5) highlighting the conservation and management of Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna which is now in a critically overfished state in the Pacific.
Therefore, Mr Goundar said it was prudent the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPCF)(6) collaborate with other Regional Fisheries Management Organisation’s (RFMO’s), the MCS network, NGO’s, other organisations to strengthen, harmonise surveillance systems across the region and work towards eradicating pirate fishing totally.
Mr Goundar said it was time flag states make greater efforts to deter and prevent pirate fishing on high seas registered to their flag.
“The Flag of Convenience (FOC)(7) system is very inexpensive and often a deliberate means for fishing vessels on the high seas to evade the rules and make enormous profits,” he said.
“The oceans are being plundered and we must defend it to the hilt” said Mr Goundar.
Greenpeace is on a Defending Our Oceans (DOO) (8)expedition in the Pacific exposing the scale and threats of overfishing and pirate fishing in the region. Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40 % of the world's oceans. The tour is part of Greenpeace’s 15-month global DOO expedition.
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.
Ends
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