Experts in fisheries management from Oceana get together in Brussels to discuss the effects of pirate fishing

Esta semana se reune en Bruselas la Junta Directiva de Oceana, de la que forman parte el investigador francés Daniel Pauly, Profesor y Director del Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras de la Universidad British Columbia (Canadá) y el actor estadounidense

Press Release Date: August 19, 2013

Location: Madrid


Oceana Web | email: | tel.: 202.000.0000

Marine biologists and experts in fishing from the international organization, Oceana, which is dedicated to research into, and the protection of, the world’s oceans, meet in Brussels on 11th May to study pirate fishing

The widespread practice of illegal fishing that has been detected on a worldwide scale last year by fleets that are using flags of convenience and which are violating the licence, permit and control regulations that should prevail with respect to all fishing activities, has led Oceana to bring together several international experts to discuss this topic from their different perspectives.

It is important to distinguish the three elements that define illegal fishing, known internationally as IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing). These three factors affect the preservation of the fisheries and the protection of the marine environment”, claims Andy Sharpless, President of Oceana.

Among the aspects related to pirate fishing to be dealt with at the Hotel Silken Berlaymont in Brussels, will be the case study of the Spanish ship owner Antonio Vidal, who recently handed himself over to the American authorities, and who is accused of, among other things, the alleged importation of illegal fish. Moreover, the effect of pirate fishing on the depletion of fishing resources will be analysed, as will the concomitant effect on marine ecoystems. Measures will be proposed to strengthen regulations and laws to enable the prevention and elimination of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Preventing pirate fishing is a difficult challenge given that those who indulge in this activity use vessels that have their names and flags changed at their whim. Furthermore, these boats employ crewmembers that have been deceptively recruited and use ports that have little control and supervision. What is more they are backed up bogus firms. “Dozens of pirate vessels have been detected by French, Australian, Norwegian, English and South African naval authorities on being encountered fishing in illegal waters, but the lack of an effective, international monitoring, control and surveillance network means that those arrested are usually set free due to lack of evidence”, points out Xavier Pastor, Director of Oceana in Europe.

Until the Flags of Convenience (FOC) system is effectively dealt with, countries need to urgently provide all the resources possible to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal fishing, according to the Oceana report entitled “Halting IUU Fishing: Enforcing International Fisheries Agreements.”   

Among the measures highlighted by Oceana are the following:

  • Increasing the control of ports in every country;
  • adopting trade measures that consider the importation or trading in fish captured under these conditions as illegal;
  • prohibiting the transfer of fish from boats that are deemed to be pirate vessels;
  • strengthening of the control and inspection measures by governments;
  • improving the management of high sea areas by means of appropriate legislation.

We need to understand that illegal fishing is reeking devastation on fish stocks worldwide, and is affecting the development of sustainable marine ecosystems”, points out Dr. Daniel Pauly, fish biologist and expert in fisheries management and ecosystem modeling.