Greenpeace tells IOTC: Strong measures needed to stop transshipment

Press release - May 25, 2017
Jogjakarta, 25 May 2017— As the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) meets this week for its 21st Annual Session in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Greenpeace calls for action on a practice that allows entire tuna fishing fleets to hide a long list of dirty secrets - from shark finning and illegal fishing to human rights abuses.

The IOTC is responsible for managing fisheries for a range of tuna species as well as billfish and sharks in the Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean tuna fisheries provide about 20% of the world’s tuna supply and are an important source of food and livelihoods for many countries in the region.
Dr. Cat Dorey, Head of Greenpeace delegation to the IOTC, said:
“Greenpeace calls on the IOTC to develop  strong measures that effectively close the loophole that transshipments at sea represent. A lack of action on this issue is undermining the IOTC’s ability to halt the decline of many tuna and shark species and protect the future of fisheries that are such a vital source of food and jobs for so  many countries in the region.”
Greenpeace is urging the IOTC to put in place a moratorium on at-sea transshipments until specific conditions are met which should include, but is not limited to, mandatory observers on both fishing and carrier vessels, real-time reporting, and strong consequences for non-compliance.
Transshipment of fish to carrier vessels at sea, rather than returning to port to offload catches, provides an easy access point for illegal fishing vessels to unload their illegal catches into the supply chain, away from coast guards and port authorities. This can make it impossible to track a shipment of fish back to the vessel which caught it and to detect fraud.
Transshipment allows fishing vessels more time at sea, which contributes to overfishing, and denies revenues for coastal states as it eliminates port services and local processing facilities. In the worst instances, transshipment enables slavery at sea as crews can be kept at sea for months or even years at a time without getting back to a port. This makes it difficult – if not impossible – to report on or escape from physical abuse, poor working conditions, violence, and even murder on board fishing vessels.   
Greenpeace acknowledges that many fishing nations are taking steps to address transhipment in their own waters, including host country Indonesia, [1] which has regulated a full ban on transhipment in its national fisheries management areas. [2]
The International Transport Workers’ Federation has also recently called for a moratorium on high seas transshipment by tuna long-line vessels in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea until companies implement fair labour standards throughout their supply chains to protect fishers and seafarers. [3]
It is increasingly urgent for the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to catch up and do its part and champion ocean conservation and human rights protection.
In the past decade there has been an uncontrolled increase in the use of FADs and supply vessels in the region which has significantly contributed to the overfishing of the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna population. Greenpeace is also calling for IOTC to drastically reduce the number of FADs used by purse seine vessels. The use of supply vessels, which work alongside purse seiners to supply FADs and search for tuna schools, have greatly contributed to increase pressure on tropical tuna stocks and should be banned.”
For more information on these issues please see the Greenpeace position statement to the IOTC:
Notes to the Editors:

[2] Indonesian Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministerial Regulation No. 57/2014:
For more information:
Dr. Cat Dorey, Greenpeace Head of Delegation
, mobile: +61466924683
Vince Cinches, Oceans and Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines
, mobile: +639498891336
Hikmat Suriatanuwijaya, Marketing and Media Unit, Engagement Department, Greenpeace Southeast Asia (in Jakarta)
, mobile: +62819888829