Greenpeace confiscates illegal fishing nets. The net is registered to a Polish vessel fishing illegally in the Baltic Proper.
And we hope the pirates do call because they've got some
explaining to do. As part of a fisheries management plan, the
eastern Baltic is closed to cod fishing between June 15 and
September 15. Obviously, someone thought they could get a head
In reality, pirate fishing is rampant in the Baltic Sea - where
it is estimated that every third cod brought in is caught
illegally. And the nets we found today were mostly full of small
cod. None of the fish in them was old enough to spawn.
The eastern cod stock is severely threatened and scientists have
recommended a complete halt to cod fishing in this area. Yet, the
EU proposed quotas of 38,000 tons for 2007. Coupled with the
rampant illegal fishing, unsustainable EU policies are paving the
road to extinction for the Baltic cod.
Our activists also boarded two fishing boats in the area closed
to cod fishing. Onboard we found hundreds of kilos of cod, and the
nets where still wet. The fishermen claimed the cod was caught far
away in the western area.
"Holding up fishing rods they said they only stopped in the area
for recreational fishing. Even though I may not be able to prove it
in court I'm convinced these guys where fishing pirates," said Ida
Udovic, from on board the Arctic Sunrise.
Following the money
Onboard the same vessels Greenpeace also found several boxes
from Europe's largest cod supplier, Espersen AS, Denmark. In 2001,
Espersen was caught using cod fished illegally in the Baltic Sea.
The company was fined 134,000 euros. In early 2006 they where
caught again, this time receiving illegal cod from the Barents Sea.
In the latter case, Espersen claimed to have been ignorant of the
true origin of the cod, and was not charged.
How to save the cod fishery
A network of marine reserves - no take zones - would facilitate
enforcement and give cod stocks a chance to recover. To go with
this, all fishing vessels in the Baltic should have a device
onboard enabling electronic surveillance.
Proper controls on and off shore should be set up, and a
blacklist for all vessels caught cheating should be
Arctic Sunrise weblog
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