Defending Our Pacific

Publication - March 23, 2012
Summary of findings from the Esperanza's expedition, September - December 2011.

During the three-month 'Defending Our Pacific' expedition, the Esperanza monitored the Pacific Commons and visited Pago Pago in American Samoa, Nauru, and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. In December, Greenpeace and the government of Palau conducted a joint fisheries enforcement operation in Palau's national waters. Greenpeace assisted in apprehending and detaining a licensed vessel engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, failing to report via its vessel monitoring system and catching and finning sharks, a practice banned in Palauan waters.

The Esperanza encountered 63 fishing vessels in total during the expedition, including an overt, illegal, stateless and unmarked purse seine vessel operating with six other support vessels in what appeared to be a group operation. Fishing vessels were also sighted transiting through Pacific countries' waters. Catches of sharks were particularly high on a number of vessels; in several cases the Esperanza crew took action, inspecting and documenting vessels at the invitation of their captains, and releasing endangered species and other bycatch from tuna longline hooks.

The expedition showed that longline fishing in the Pacific Commons remains rampant.