The global environmental organisation launched its 'IUU
blacklist' as the West and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
meets in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, to discuss
increased regulation of tuna fishing in the Pacific where IUU
fishing of the regional tuna stocks is rife(1).
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing - often referred to
as "pirate fishing" - has become a global scourge. It is a
multi-billion dollar business that affects many communities,
especially from developing countries such as those in the Pacific
that can least afford to be robbed of their livelihoods and
sustenance. It leaves the marine environment bruised and battered,
undermining food security and attempts at sustainable
Published by Greenpeace International, the Greenpeace IUU
blacklist is the first one-stop independent record of fishing
vessels, support vessels and companies involved in pirate fishing.
Published by Greenpeace International, it includes independent
observations from the legal fishing industry, government
authorities, and first-hand evidence from Greenpeace and other NGOs
who have recorded the activities of these vessels and companies at
sea and in ports around the world.
"Each year numerous vessels are observed and recorded as
engaging in pirate fishing across every ocean and sea. But the lack
of global political will and scarce resources for enforcement in
many coastal states means that most of the vessels and the
companies behind them just carry on fishing. It isn't really
possible to discourage pirates by asking them politely to please
move along. There have to be clear and strict rules in place that
prevent pirate fishing in the first place - and heavy sanctions for
those who are caught," said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International
The new Greenpeace database supplements the IUU database
launched in 2007, which contained only those pirate fishing vessels
officially blacklisted by regional fisheries management
organisations and governments.
"Official lists are currently very limited in the information
they contain and do not include the names of the companies behind
the pirate fishing vessels. It's time for greater transparency: for
fish purchasers, retailers, and the public to see who is involved
in pirate fishing and for ship owners to start taking
responsibility for their role" continued Tolvanen.
Greenpeace is urging all retailers and seafood traders to ensure
they do not purchase pirate-caught fish and, as a first step, to
ensure that they do not trade with companies listed as operators of
"In the fight against pirate fishing, Greenpeace believes the
United Nations should create what could be called 'an Interpol for
the oceans', so that, with just one click, fisheries enforcement
authorities anywhere in the world can access an up-to-date,
reliable and comprehensive global record of fishing vessels
involved in pirate fishing. With little capacity or resources,
fisheries authorities, particularly in developing countries, have
nowhere to turn when a vessel enters their waters or ports. The
Greenpeace blacklist shows that with just a bit of political
commitment and a few resources, the international community can
establish this kind of database. The first step in getting the
market to reject pirate-caught fish is to ensure that buyers can
identify the ships and companies to avoid."
Greenpeace advocates the creation of an effectively enforced
network of marine reserves, protecting 40% of the world's oceans -
with regulated, sustainable fishing in other areas - as the
long-term solution to overfishing and the recovery of marine life
in our overexploited oceans.
Other contacts: Sari Tolvanen, Oceans Campaigner Greenpeace International, Amsterdam:
Lagi Toribau, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, in Pohnpei:
Notes: (1) 4th Regular Session of the Technical Compliance Committee of the West and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.