Activists confront fishing vessels plundering biodiversity hotspot in the Southwest Atlantic
April 18, 2022
Greenpeace Andino activists confronted destructive fishing vessels in the Blue Hole, a biodiversity hotspot in the high seas, 300 kilometers off the coast of Argentina. The peaceful protesters unfurled a banner with the message "Protect the Oceans” to expose transshipment operations, where vessels transfer their catch to bigger refrigerated ships, contributing to traceability challenges. The activists also painted the word “Illegal” on the hull of another ship that was trawling in the region.
© Martin Katz / Greenpeace
Greenpeace Andino activists confronted destructive fishing vessels in the Blue Hole, a biodiversity hotspot in the high seas, 300 kilometers off the coast of Argentina. The peaceful protesters unfurled a banner with the message “Protect the Oceans” to expose transshipment operations, where vessels transfer their catch to bigger refrigerated ships, which contributes to challenges of traceability. The activists also painted the word “Illegal” on the hull of another ship that was trawling in the region. The impacts of trawling, according to Greenpeace Andino, are comparable to clearing of a forest.
Luisina Vueso, head of oceans for Greenpeace Andino, said:
“We came all this way to expose the vessels that are devastating the high seas and threatening the Argentine Sea. Transshipments on the high seas enable fleets to operate out of sight of authorities, making it easier for them to hide illegal catches and stay longer without returning to port. This significantly increases fishing operations and the likelihood of human rights abuses.”
“While politicians keep saying warm words about the oceans, the reality out at sea continues to be devastating. We need real action. The governments of the world must do all in their power to secure a strong Global Ocean Treaty that will enable creation of ocean sanctuaries, off-limits to destructive fisheries like the ones we have witnessed.”
The Arctic Sunrise has been conducting research and monitoring overfishing in the Blue Hole for a month, as part of its campaign for the protection of the Argentine Sea.
John Hocevar, Oceans Campaign Director at Greenpeace US, said:
“While I was on board the Arctic Sunrise in the Blue Hole, we were surrounded by over 400 fishing vessels, most of which had traveled thousands of miles to exploit the lack of regulations on the high seas. This highlights the relentlessly destructive impact of commercial fisheries on our oceans. Greenpeace investigations have provided strong evidence of the close links between illegal fishing and the use of forced labor. As one of the world’s largest importers of seafood, US seafood producers and retailers are heavily implicated in the continuation of these environmental and human rights abuses.”
“The US government should close US markets to Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) seafood to protect our oceans and the workers who supply America’s seafood. We urge the US Congress to take immediate action to equip relevant agencies with more tools to address IUU fishing, such as expanding the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. We also call on the Biden Administration to support a strong Global Ocean Treaty at the UN this year that will enable the protection of at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030 and finally put areas such as the Blue Hole off-limits to destructive industries.”
Contact: Tanya Brooks, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, P: 703-342-9226, E: [email protected]