Kaoshiung, Taiwan, -- Activists from the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior today exposed a ship suspected of violating Taiwanese fisheries laws moored in the port of Kaoshiung, Taiwan and called on the Taiwanese Fisheries Agency to investigate the fish carrier ship, the MV Lung Yuin(1). Activists projected the phrases "Illegal in Taiwan?", "Investigate now!" and "Pacific tuna plunder" onto the hull of Lung Yuin, which is due to depart to collect tuna from fishing vessels in the Pacific Ocean.
In 2004, Japan apprehended the Lung Yuin for its involvement in large-scale illegal fishing (2). The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has also documented its abuse of workers (3). Furthermore, the vessel does not appear on Taiwan's list of foreign vessels that are majority-owned by Taiwanese entities, despite Greenpeace presenting evidence in September 2010 to the Taiwan Fisheries Agency, that the vessel and its owners were one of 276 vessels in violation of fishing regulations which require Taiwanese-owned vessels sailing under foreign flags to register with Taiwan authorities.
"To demonstrate that Taiwan is serious about controlling its vast fishing industry, it needs to investigate and as appropriate, prosecute the Lung Yuin and its owners according to Taiwan's laws. How can we be sure this vessel complies with international conservation measures in international waters, particularly in the Pacific, if it ignores even the simplest registrations in Taiwan?" asked Kao Yu Fen, Greenpeace East Asia Oceans Campaigner.
With some 1,940 vessels (4), Taiwan operates the largest fishing fleet in the Pacific Ocean, and a large part of its fleet, particularly longliners, relies on fish carriers such as the Lung Yuin for transfer of catches. This practice enables fish laundering of the already over-exploited Pacific bigeye and yellowfin tuna. Refrigerated vessels, or reefers, like Lung Yuin sustain the massive international tuna longline fleet at sea, allowing destructive overfishing to continue.
The Taiwanese Lungsoon Group, owners of Lung Yuin, also own 13 long-line vessels and frequently deliver frozen tuna to Japan's lucrative sashimi market. They also provide albacore tuna to the US tuna brands Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea and Starkist (5).
"This vessel is a perfect example of of an industry that continues the unsustainable plunder of our oceans. Taiwan should support tighter international regulations to control fishing in international waters, including banning all transhipments of fish at sea and the creation of marine reserves in the high seas pockets of the Pacific where pirate fishing activities are rampant (6)," said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner.
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health.
Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, is currently in Taiwan on its Ocean Defenders Tour of East Asia. It is campaigning for protection of our oceans and for stopping the depletion of marine species such as tuna.
MEDIA CONTACTS Sari Tolvanen, Oceans Campaigner onboard the Rainbow Warrior, +31655125480 Steve Smith, Communications Manager, in Amsterdam, +31 (0) 6 4378 7359 Arthur Dionio, Communications Officer onboard the Rainbow Warrior, +886 983172785
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1) The vessels owners are required to register their foreign flagged fishing related operations under the “Ordinance to Govern Investment in Yje Operation of Foreign Flagged Fishing Vessels. For more information see: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/Taiwan-FOC-report/ 2) Japan apprehended vessel in 2004 for violation of the reporting requirements to the Japanese authority when the vessel stayed in Shimizu, landing frozen tunas. This lead to the large scale exposure of Taiwan’s long-line fleet fishing illegally. See http://www.iattc.org/pdffiles2/jwg-4-minutes-jun-05.pdf 3) International Transport Workers' Federation, 'ITF Seafarers' Bulletin', no. 19, 2005 (4)Vessels registry of the Western and Central Pacific Fiseries Comission: http://intra.wcpfc.int/Lists/Vessels/Stats.aspx (5) According to it’s Chinese website Lungsoon provides albacore tuna to the US companies and the vessels port records show frequent calls to Japan’s tuna ports. http://www.lungsoon.com/business_C.html (6)The “high seas pockets” are areas of the Pacific Ocean that lie between the borders of Pacific Island nations, key tuna spawning grounds in which illegal fishing operations are common: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/marine-reserves/pacific-tuna-need-marine-reserves/
For more information on the Greenpeace East Asian Ocean Defenders tour, visit: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/RW-EastAsia-Tour