Greenpeace Demand New European Fishing Vessels Are Banned From The Pacific

Press release - 16 October, 2006
European fishing vessels, amongst some of the most destructive in the world, should be banned from the Pacific Ocean, say Greenpeace. Despite two key Pacific tuna stocks already being in serious trouble (1), the European Union EU) has licensed 96 new boats to fish in the Western Pacific.

The licensed vessels are flagged in France, the UK,Portugal and Spain and include 3 of the largest and most modern tuna seiners inthe world. These Spanish giant vessels, known as “super super” seiners, havethe capacity to freeze 200 tons of tuna a day and can hold up to 2,200 tons ata time.

In a year, two of these vessels can take nearly doublean entire year's catch for the whole of the Federated States of Micronesia's(FSM) tuna fishing fleet. (2)

"If we don't want to see Yellowfin and Bigeyetuna go the same way as Atlantic Cod, then we need to halve fishing in theregion, not increase it," said Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace Ocean campaigneron board the Greenpeace ship, M.Y. Esperanza. "With their own watersfished out, the EU and other foreign fishing fleets including Japan, Korea,Taiwan and the US, are literally sailing across the world to take vital fishand income from people whose lives depend on it." Toribau continued.

The EU is a member of the regional Tuna Commission(Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission), a body whose stated purposeis to protect tuna stocks.

France is also requesting that some of their biggestboats are allowed into the Pacific - including their largest tuna catcher, witha capacity to take 1250 tons a haul.

"Instead of taking responsibility for plunderingtheir own fish stocks, European countries are now trying to rob the Pacific.The EU must pay fairer returns for their licenses, provide greater support forenforcement in the region, and fish responsibly - not further contribute to thePacific tuna crisis.” said Farah Obaidullah, Greenpeace EU oceans campaigner.

In order to protect Pacific tuna stocks from collapse,Greenpeace is calling for the number of fish caught to be halved, for a ban onconstruction of any new super-super seiners, and for none of the existing onesto be allowed into the region.


VVPR info: Jo Kuper - Greenpeace International Communications (onboard the Esperanza) +475 140 7986

Notes: (1). Pacific tuna stocks Yellowfin and Bigeye could face commercial extinction within three years, unless current fishing practices are drastically reduced. (2). In 2005, FSM's six purse seiner fleet took 28,000 tons. On average the Spanish super-super seiners have been going out 10 times a year, this gives them the capacity to take 22,000 tons each a year.(3). The "Defending our Oceans” tour is a 15 month global expedition highlighting the beauty of and threats to the world's oceans and calling for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world's oceans.