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Slaughter at sea

We can't let this abuse continue

Sam, EJF's Senior Investigative Filmmaker, travelled to Indonesia and Taiwan to investigate the Taiwanese distant-water fishing fleet

A catalogue of abuse

Dolphins harpooned and butchered for use as bait, thousands of sharks stripped of their fins and thrown back to the sea to drown, and a scourge of human rights abuses.

This is the criminality penetrating Taiwan's distant-water fishing fleet.

Sadly, in my experience capturing film footage across the globe, I’ve learned that mistreatment of the environment often goes hand in hand with human rights abuses.

The fishermen I interviewed spoke of the slave labour they’d experienced, from squalid working conditions to beatings at gunpoint. I couldn’t begin to comprehend the trauma they’ve suffered.

They also described the inhumane fishing practises taking place. Crews reported illegally catching hundreds of sharks every single day, being ordered to cut off their fins and throw their bodies overboard. The sharks – unable to swim without their fins – would suffocate or bleed to death.


Dolphins harpooned and used as bait

Crew aboard one of the boats spoke of how dolphins would flock to the vessel, innocent to the kind of craft they were approaching.

They were ordered to harpoon these dolphins, dragging them alongside the vessel until they died from either exhaustion or blood loss. They would then butcher them and use their meat as shark bait.


Decimating ocean health

3.5 billion people, almost half the world's population, depend on the ocean as their primary source of food.

This scourge of illegal practices is not just barbaric, it is collapsing ecosystems and threatening billions of people with the prospect of starvation.

We can’t let this catalogue of abuse continue. Illegal Taiwanese fishing fleets are ripping the heart out of our oceans, brutally mistreating their crews, killing precious sea creatures in the most inhumane ways and sacrificing the food security of billions.

Will you help us fight the exploitation of workers, and give what you can to rescue invaluable marine life and secure the health of our global oceans?

As an investigative filmmaker for EJF, I've travelled across the world documenting environmental injustice. The devastating practices I uncovered aboard Taiwanese longliners are not only stomach-churning, but are having a devastating impact of the health of our oceans.

Sam, Senior Investigative Filmmaker at EJF

The impact of your donation

  • In May 2019, EJF wrote to Taiwan’s Prime Minister, involving global media and circulating first-hand testimonies and film footage that simply can’t be ignored.

We initiated internal investigations in Taiwan before and we’ll continue to pressure and lobby those in charge until we see real and lasting reform to protect against illegal, appalling fishing practices and slavery at sea.

  • We’re also getting supermarkets on board. Tesco, Sainsbury's and Co-op have already signed our transparency charter.

If major retailers boycott seafood connected with any form of human rights abuse or illegal fishing, suppliers will be forced to change their ways.

  • Our investigations continue to inform the EU and we will be issuing a set of vessel alerts this spring

Every illegal fishing alert we issue to the EU contributes to their evaluation of the country's fishing sector. The EU can then decide to issue them with a trade-ban warning or suspend seafood imports entirely, which can have huge economic consequences.