NGO praises blocking of IUU fishing vessels in Middle East port

By

Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
May 22, 2015

Nonprofit environmental activist group the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is praising the government of Oman for closing its ports to six vessels accused of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The vessels, according to EJF, are trawlers fishing under the flag of Somalia, and are among six vessels suspected of committing so-called “pirate fishing.” Of those vessels, four of them originally were flagged as Korean, but in 2014, when the Korean government changed its rules to forbid fishing in unregulated areas, the vessels changed their registries and names, their owners claiming to have the ships registered in Somalia.

But the Somali government declared the vessels’ Somali flag to be invalid, along with the flags of two other vessels, in a communication with the Omani government. As a result, Oman has closed its ports to all six ships.

“Oman has taken an important step. Closing markets to fish that is not demonstrably legal is a critical part of the international fight against IUU, ‘pirate’ fishing,” said Steve Trent, EJF’s executive director. “By applying these port state measures, Oman is helping legitimate fishers, helping to protect the environment and fish stocks and helping coastal communities along the Somali coast.”

Ahmed Al-Mazrouai, director general of fisheries resources development for the Omani Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, called the closure “an important step to support the efforts against IUU in the Somali waters, and in the Indian Ocean.”

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