Oceans campaigner Ida Udovic said, "A legitimate company would
neverdream of buying or selling a car where they knew a third of
the partswhere stolen goods. But large distributors and
manufacturers of fishproducts ignore that their raw material could
be totally illegal, andlook the other way while our seas are being
Overfishing out of control
Poland, which is the centre for cod filleting across the region,
lastyear supplied Western Europe with an amazing 41 000 tons of cod
filets.The sheer amount of stolen cod, added to catch quotas that
way above those recommended by scientists, mean the recovery of
somecod populations is impossible. The International Council for
theExploration of the Sea (ICES: the scientific advisory body for
thenortheastern Atlantic region) and the European Union (EU) are
callingfor a drastic reduction of quotas, or even for a cessation
of codfishing in waters of the eastern Baltic Sea. The eastern
Baltic codstock has been reduced to only a tenth of its size during
the 'GoldenAges' of Baltic cod fishing in the 1980s.
To make matters worse, the situation in the Baltic Sea is
disastrous:overfishing, pollution, eutrophication (nutrient
enrichment of thewater caused largely by agricultural run-off),
climate change, oilspills, bottom trawling and destruction of
habitats have made acatastrophic situation, further threatening the
survival of cod andother species. The last thing we need on top of
this is piratefishing.
How can companies let this happen? Unfortunately it's hard to
tellexactly where the illegal cod from the Baltic ends up. This
meansthat the company making your box of fish fingers can't tell
you if theycome from stolen stocks.
Among the companies that buy cod from Baltic catches, usually
freshfillets bound for restaurants, are Pickenpack and
Frosta(Germany), Fjord Seafood (Netherlands), Västkustfilé (Sweden)
and RoyalGreenland (Denmark). Danish company Espersen has a key
role inprocessing and distributing frozen fillets sold under
various brandssuch as Euroshopper, and even in fast food
restaurants. With a turnoverof over 130 million euros, Espersen is
regarded as the largest codprocessing company in the world.
Despite the clear problem, the Baltic Sea states routinely fail
to takeaction. The maximum average fine recently imposed anywhere
in theregion for illegal fishing has been a mere 538 euros.
Making Piracy History
The Arctic Sunrise is in the Baltic as part of the Defending Our
Oceanscampaign and will be highlighting the issue of pirate
fishingthroughout the region. We are demanding a network of
marinereserves to shut down the pirate trade and allow vital cod
stocks torecover. In addition all fishing vessels in the Baltic
should have adevice onboard enabling electronic surveillance,
controls ashore andoff shore should increase and a black list for
all vessels caughtcheating should be established.
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