Our seas and oceans cover 70% of our planet and contain nearly 90% of its living biomass. Over 3.5 billion people depend on the oceans for a primary food source, employment or income. Yet over three quarters of the world’s fish stocks that have been measured are defined as fully exploited, over exploited or depleted due to over fishing. Many of our marine and coastal ecosystems are dangerously close to collapse and over 90% of each of the world’s large ocean species - like cod, halibut, swordfish - have been lost since the 1950s.
Illegal 'pirate' fishing is one of the greatest threats to these already-vulnerable marine environments and the people who rely on them. It also has links to human trafficking and forced labour onboard vessels.
We investigate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) or 'pirate' fishing in Africa, Asia and globally. We leverage action from governments, the European Union, industry and consumers to close loopholes and ensure that ‘stolen’ fish can’t reach our markets.
Our work has resulted in numerous fines and sanctions, including the ‘yellow-carding’ of South Korea, Ghana and Curacao in November 2013 by the EU Commission, which drew heavily on information gathered by EJF.
We document human rights abuses and modern day slavery in the seafood sector and campaign for international support from governments and industry.
Our reports, 'Sold to the Sea' and 'Slavery at Sea', led to a major Guardian investigation in 2014, with many global retailers subsequently committing to ensure their supply chains are free of slavery.
Following the 2014 downgrade of Thailand to Tier 3 - the lowest possible ranking - in the US State Department’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, EJF and others successfully secured the continued placement of Thailand on Tier 3.
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We work to protect vulnerable marine and coastal ecosystems and wildlife species including sharks, rays and turtles by promoting community monitoring of illegal fishing, local education and co-management projects, supporting the creation of marine protected areas and alternative livelihoods.
EJF began a pilot Biodiversity Project in Westpoint, Liberia in 2013, building on relationships with local communities to investigate and influence the local catch of endangered species including sea turtles and several varieties of sharks. In addition, we are promoting oyster production to support alternative livelihoods, food and greater environmental security for 2,000 people living in coastal communities in Sierra Leone.
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