Greenpeace renews call to end illegal fishing at Interpol forum

Press release - February 28, 2013
Jakarta/Manila/Lyon, France – Greenpeace today renewed its demand to governments around the world to end illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. The call for stricter enforcement and the elimination of loopholes in fishing regulations came this week as Interpol convened its first ever meeting to address the illegal fishing crisis in Lyon, France.

As back up to its call, Greenpeace released the detailed documentation of illegal fishing activities encountered during two ship expeditions in the Pacific and Indian Oceans in late 2012 highlighting the need for urgent action. The evidence included documentation of illegal activities last November by Indonesian-, Philippine-, and Cambodian-flagged fishing vessels in the Pacific. It also included details of Greenpeace encounters with fishing vessels from Japan, Taiwan and Sri Lanka engaged in illegal or suspicious fishing activities in the Indian Ocean. All vessels were taking advantage of poor at-sea enforcement and loopholes in the law.

As overfishing decimates fish stocks, fleets are moving further and further from homeports to catch valuable fish species such as tuna. Greenpeace is demanding that governments prohibit the transfer of fish at sea, end fishing vessels’ ability to hide in ports or under flags of convenience, require identification devices such as AIS and improve at-sea control and enforcement.

“Illegal fishing continues to expand and much of what happens at sea stays at sea and escapes all control,” said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner.

“It is estimated that between $10 and $24 billion worth of fish is illegally taken from our oceans every year—often from developing nations and supported by sophisticated transnational networks of criminals. Tuna fisheries and the global trade in shark fins are prime examples of this organised crime.”

Greenpeace is making available the results of its 2012 expeditions in the Pacific and Indian Oceans to law enforcement officials at the Interpol meeting and will also deliver these evidences to relevant fisheries management authorities.

"The destruction of the marine environment and the unchecked increase in fishing capacity across the world has led to the collapse or decline of fish populations worldwide.  This is also true in Southeast Asia where fishing vessels are now going farther out to sea to catch fish and in many instances through illegal means,"  said Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. 

“Illegal fishing cannot be stopped through stricter law enforcement alone: fishing quotas must be set at sustainable levels. This needs the cooperation of governments, such as those here in Southeast Asia,” added Dia.

Greenpeace is advocating that more financial and human resources be allocated to control activities at sea and along the fisheries chain of custody, and that loopholes such as transfer of fish at sea be banned. This should be accompanied by steep cuts in industrial fishing capacity that lead to illegal fishing and overfishing. Interpol can take a lead by enabling the sharing of data and best practices, and push for strict enforcement and proper prosecution of individuals and companies in involved in illegal fishing.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a more sustainable fishing industry and a global network of fully protected sanctuaries at sea, both necessary steps to creating healthy, living oceans for future generations.

For more information:

Mark Dia, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Regional Oceans Campaigner, +63 843 0549 (mobile), in Manila

Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner, +31 655 125 480 (mobile), in Lyon

Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications, +31 643 787 359 (mobile), in Amsterdam

Note to editors:

The ship tour findings reports can be found at: