Victory - pirates in deep deep trouble

Feature story - 18 April, 2006
After a chase of over 1000 miles, a six day occupation and hours of diplomatic negotiations, Spain has finally agreed to declare the cargo from the "Binar 4'" - 200 tonnes of fish stolen from West Africa - illegal. Guinean officials also announced they would be fining the owners and operators of the pirate vessel.

The last Greenpeace activists occupying the Pirate fishing vessel "Binar 4" in Las Palmas climb down after Spain agrees to declare the 200 tonnes of stolen fish onboard illegal.

After branding the ship with "stolen fish", our climbers occupied the "Binar 4" in the notorious pirate fishingport of Las Palmas for nearly 150 hours. When the announcement was madethe last two activists descended to cheers from the gathered crowd,tired but still smiling.

During the time the Esperanza was patrolling the waters of West Africa,104 foreign flagged vessels, from Korea, China, Italy, Liberia andBelize were documented. Nearly half were engaged in or linked toillegal fishing activities. The "Binar 4" was taking fish from shipslicensed to fish, but all the vessels involved had broken the lawsconcerning transshipments.

"In every ocean, every day fish are being stolen. That means that allgovernments must act every day to combat it," said Sarah Duthie ofGreenpeace. "We are delighted that the authorities have taken actionagainst this illegal reefer, but this can only be the beginning, notthe end. If Greenpeace and the Environmental Justice Foundation had notacted then Spain would not have done anything to stop this cargo beingsold across Europe."

"Fining the Binar 4 sends a strong signal to other pirate operators,but it is only a fraction of the humanitarian and environmental cost,"said Helene Bours of the Environmental Justice Foundation. "West Africadepends on fish for food and income, but it is the only regional in theworld where consumption is falling."

According to the High Seas Task Force on Illegal, Unreported &Unregulated (IUU or pirate) fishing, up to 20 percent of the globalcatch istaken illegally - as much as US$9 billion dollars. Greenpeace and theEnvironmental Justice Foundation are working together to expose thepirate fishing fleets that operate without sanction across the globe.Together they are demanding that governments close ports to banpirates, deny them access to markets and prosecute companies supportingthem.

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