The problem of illegal fishing is enormous and Greenpeace has been working hard to combat illegal fishing for many years, as we try to protect our oceans and ensure future generations have fish and fishing jobs.  We have sent ships into the open ocean year after year, to monitor fishing activities with governments as diverse as Palau and Mozambique. In some ways, this work is taking off today as Interpol’s first-ever conference on illegal fishing begins in Lyon, France.

It is estimated that between $10 and $24 billion worth of fish is caught illegally. All too often, these fish are taken from developing countries and end up as cheap seafood in rich countries. Illegal fishing, especially in tuna and shark fisheries and trade takes income and food away from coastal communities. The lucrative tuna trade unfortunately encourages cheating in order to maximise profits, especially as overfishing causes fleets to move further and further to chase shrinking fish populations.

Greenpeace is hoping to change all of this. To coincide with the Interpol conference, we are releasing the findings from our most recent ship tours in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. We are also renewing our call to governments to stop illegal fishing, specifically by:

  • Ending the practice of transferring fish catches at sea
  • Enforcing existing regulations and improve surveillance of fishing ships
  • Mandating that fishing ships have proper electronic identification devices, such as AIS on.
  • Reducing fishing fleets

We hope that global law enforcement will join us in the fight to leave future generations healthy, living oceans. Sharing data and best practice information is a good place to start as would be the prosecution of individuals and companies involved in illegal fishing. We need your help to show the global fishing industry that our oceans are not Las Vegas - what happens at sea shouldn’t stay at sea. You can tell your seafood companies to improve their sourcing policies here. We’ll keep you posted on how our work to defend our oceans develops.

Sari Tolvanen is an oceans campaigner based in Greenpeace International’s Amsterdam office.