Thursday, August 15, 2013

Illegal Fishing Roundup I

Illegal Fishing Roundup is a new feature on Shark Defenders which will be published weekly.  You can also join our mailing list to keep abreast of the latest in shark conservation news, as well as allow us to call on you when we need your help.

It’s been a very busy week out in the world of International Fisheries Management and Business News - from human traffickers accused of selling people in slavery on fishing boats being arrested, to a fishing vessel being caught transporting over 900 kilograms of cocaine, to two cats being rescued from a sinking tuna boat off the coast of Oregon.

Cabinet backs global fishing rules
South Africa – August 12, 2013 –
South Africa’s Cabinet has approved three fishing treaties: the agreement for the establishment of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna and the FAO’s Port State Measures Agreement to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing. The treaties now will go to Parliament for further approval.

Canadian firm track’s Earth ships from Space
Canada – August 12, 2013 –
Since 2010, Canadian firm exact Earth has been “mining” data about shipping traffic on Earth from satellites through AIS detection. Today is sells information about the more than 100,000 ship it detects per day to over 50 customers on 5 continents. The data is used for identifying and tracking ship traffic, identifying whether ships are following maritime traffic laws, and detecting illegal fishing and piracy. While previously exactEarth’s satellites were polar orbiting, in early 2014 exactEarth will launch a nanosatellite that will orbit around the Earth’s equator and allow exactEarth to collect updated data about ships near the equator at least once per hour.

Fears for Pacific tuna stocks amid record 2012 catch
Australia – August 15, 2013 –
New figures from the Secretariat of the Pacific show that more than 2.6 million tons of Pacific tuna was caught in the central and western pacific last year, a number that is prompting urgent calls from conservationists to do more to protect fish stocks. The number is 59% of the global catch and 1200 tons more than the previous record.

Fresh fish landings continue to fall
Spain – August 12, 2013 –
Between January and June of 2013, a total of 105,753 tons of fresh fish entered the ports of Spain, a 5.7% decrease compared to the same period in 2012. The largest decrease occurred in the port of Barcelona; it received only 100 tons of fresh fish in the first six months of the year, 89.1% few than the same period of 2012.

Thailand arrests suspected leader of human trafficking gang
Bangkok- August 9, 2013 –
Thai authorities have captured the suspected leader of a human trafficking gang, who confessed to selling migrants from Myanmar into slavery on Thai fishing boats as well as murdering as many as seven individuals. The raid follows mounting international concern over the trafficking of migrants in Thailand’s lucrative fishing industry.

Greenpeace: South Korea could face backlash for illegal fishing
South Korea – August 12, 2013 –
Greenpeace East Asia has spoken out against South Korea’s fishing industry, stating that it is earning a bad reputation through illegal fishing scandals and human rights abuses. The report details 34 cases in which Korean fishing companies engaged in practices including illegal fishing, non-compliance with international fishing standards and human rights abuses in their fleets.

The Price of Fish – Different Scales
August 10, 2013 –
The global fish-price index of the UN FAO hit a record high this May. The peak is likely due to increasing amount of fish consumer diets, especially in China, and high oil prices leading to an increase in both demand and cost. However, there is a large difference between the cost of farmed the cost of wild caught fish. Since 1990, the cost of wild caught fish as nearly doubled while farmed fish has only risen by a fifth.

Nicaraguan Navy Fights Drug Traffic, Defends Sovereignty
Nicaragua – August 15, 2013 –
Rear Admiral of the Nicaraguan Navy has said that from August 2012 through July 2013, 6,432 missions were conducted and 82,000 nautical miles were sailed. The missions resulted in the detainment of 57 vessels and 215 crew members for illegally fishing in jurisdictional waters.

Is the Shark-Fin Trade Facing Extinction?
U.S. – August 12, 2013 –
U.S. conservation organization WildAid estimates that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for the fins, most by a process known as “finning” in which fins are hacked off and the animal is thrown back into the sea to drown or bleed to death. Afterward, the fins are transported by ship or plane to Hong Kong to be used in shark fin soup.

Costa Rican Coast Guard nabs fishing boat with 900 kilos of cocaine
Costa Rica – August 12, 2013 –
The Costa Rican Coast Guard seized a fishing vessel with 963 kilograms of cocaine near the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador this week. The same vessel was detained last year with 1,081 kilos of cocaine. 3 Costa Ricans nations and one Nicaraguan on board the vessel were arrested and sent to Ecuador for processing.

Follow up to above: US Navy Ship Tows and Sinks Costa Rican Boat Loaded with Cocaine
Costa Rica – August 13, 2013 –
A U.S. Coast Guard vessel assisted the Costa Rican Coast Guard in the drug interdiction effort last week. The U.S.C.G. then attempted to tow the vessel but was unsuccessful and vessel sunk.

Fewer, but larger, Bluefin tuna so far this year in New England Fishery
U.S. – August 15, 2013 –
Bluefin tuna season is in full swing in the northeast of the United States. While lower numbers of actual fish have been landed, the size of the available fish has been large.

PNA tuna revenue likely to quadruple from 2010
Pacific – August 14, 2013 –
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) officials estimate that fisheries revenue will increase to US$3.9 billion this year, up from US $1.9 billion in 2010. The PNA share will rise to US$249 million, up from US$60 million in 2010. The increase in value of the fisheries is said to be directly related to the fisheries management and business initiatives enforced by the eight nations since 2010.

CFP to phase out fishmeal from shrimp feed
Myanmar/Thailand – August 12, 2013-
Charoen Pokphand Foods plans to use protein from soybean and grains in its shrimp feed instead of fishmeal, hoping the innovation will lead to a more sustainable fishery.

RTI reveals barrier reef authority will trial drone in fight against illegal fishing
Australia – August 14, 2013 –
The Great Barrier Reef Authority is going to begin a trial run using a drone to combat illegal fishing.

Baltimore researchers turn carnivorous fish into vegetarians
Washington, DC – August 11, 2013 –
Researches in the United States have turned carnivorous Cobia into eating a vegetarian diet. Typically the fish feed on small fish such as menhaden, anchovies and sardines. This could have an impact for aquaculture, which typically uses wild-caught small fish to feed larger farmed-raised fish.

Top 15 salmon producers unite to form sustainability initiative
August 14, 2013 –
Companies representing 70 percent of the world’s total farmed salmon production launch new effort to progress in key areas such as mitigating environmental impacts, improving feed sustainability, addressing social issues and communication the potential the fish has to help address the world’s growing need for protein.

Ecuador’s attorney: It’s not over until it’s over
U.S. – August 15, 2013 –
The U.S. shrimp industry brought a case against seven shrimp exporting countries, claiming that the countries were unfairly subsidizing their shrimp farming sectors which was giving them an advantage in the U.S. markets. While a preliminary ruling was in favor of Ecuador, one of the exporting countries, the latest U.S. Dept of Commerce ruling was against them.

Operation Ocean
Florida, U.S. – August 13, 2013 –
A new group has been formed in Florida which teaches severely injured military veterans to scuba dive with the mission of raising awareness about overfishing, called Operation Blue Pride. The group has been the focus of a documentary expected to hit film festivals late October. Whether the group is helping more to save the oceans or the oceans are helping more to save the injured veterans is up for debate.

Officers seek help of walkers to reel in illegal fish nets
Carmarthen, Wales, UK – August 14, 2013 –
Walkers are being asked to keep an eye out for illegal fishing next in the river Teifi after a 75ft net was spotted just outside of Cardigan in the river and a second was found on the beach. The area is populated by migratory salmon and sea trout.

Navy brings 111 Australia-bound Persons ashore safely
Sri Lanka - August 14, 2013 –
The Sri Lankan Navy intercepted a fishing trawler with 111 persons on board illegally bound for Australia.

Watch: Humpback whale rescued from shark nets
Australia – August 14, 2013 –
A humpback whale was rescued from a shark net at an Australian beach. Nets are regularly used to protect swimmers at beaches from sharks in Australia.

Fishermen protest illegal trawler operation
Thailand - August 13, 2013 –
Small-scale fishermen in Prachuap Khiri Khan planned a gathering at their provincial hall to demand their governor take action against illegal fishing in protected areas.

Study: ‘Ray’ Wings Sold to Consumers Include Vulnerable Species and Can be Mislabeled
England – August 13, 2013 –
Genetic testing has revealed that species sold under the generic term “ray wings” are often mislabeled. Products labeled from sustainable sources are often substituted for more vulnerable species, such as the blonde ray, which was given the lowest rating for sustainability in the marine conservation society’s good fish guide.

Coast Guard seizes two boats from Mexico
Texas, U.S. – August 13, 2013 –
The U.S. Coast Guard Station South Padre Island (TX) seized two vessels and 700 pounds of catch and detained seven Mexican nationals after they were caught illegal fishing in the U.S. EEZ.

Survivors of Ore. Boat Explosion include 2 cats
Oregon, U.S. – August 14, 2013 –
A 60 foot tuna boat, the Sea Princess, sank 80 miles off the coast of Oregon last week. The survivors included the 2 persons on board the boat as well as two cats. The vessel, equipment and $40,000 worth of tuna were lost.

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