NGO calls for ban on transshipping of fish in Pacific

By

Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
September 17, 2015

Environmental activist group Greenpeace is calling for a regionwide banning in the Pacific Ocean of a common practice that enables Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, after one Pacific island nation issued a ban on the practice in its waters.

The government of the Republic of Nauru, an island nation less than 5,000 km northeast of Australia, has announced it will not allow transshipment of fish in its waters. The term “transshipping” refers to fishing vessels transferring their catch to larger vessels, often described as “motherships.”

Anti-IUU activists, including Greenpeace, have long decried transshipping as a practice that offers cover to illegal fishing by allowing fishing vessels to avoid directly landing illegally-caught fish and to stay at sea for extended periods of time.

“Today’s announcement by Nauru is a shining example of the action that needs to be taken urgently to protect our Pacific Islands,” said Greenpeace Australia-Pacific oceans campaigner Lagi Toribau.

The Nauru government is the third Pacific country to ban the practice, and has asked other Pacific island nations to issue similar bans. Greenpeace is calling for a ban regionwide on the practice. Such a ban, Toribau said, would force fishermen to land their catches.

“If fishing vessels had to go to land to transfer their catch, it would solve many of the problems out here in the Pacific,” Toribau said. “It would make it easier to properly account for and manage these catches, and also boost the economies of Pacific Island countries where the catches come from.”

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