EJF’s year in review – thanks to our supporters!
Dec 19, 2019

EJF’s year in review – thanks to our supporters!

By Steve Trent

Never has the need for action to protect our natural world and defend human rights been greater. At EJF we have been working as hard as we can to meet this challenge – and it has been your support that has made the fundamental difference to our impact.

Transparency takes off

In May, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose & Partners joined three of the UK's other major retailers in committing to EJF's Charter for Transparency, designed to bring the illegal fishing operators out of the shadows and end the destructive, unsustainable fishing and human rights abuses that blight this vital industry. Illegal fishing is responsible for the collapse of ecosystems and terrible human rights abuses, including human trafficking, slavery, and even murder – crimes we simply must bring to an end. EJF’s Charter for Transparency sets out the steps retailers can take to do just that. Well done to the five companies for helping consumers have confidence that the food on their plate was not caught by slaves.

In June, we launched our 'Blood and Water' report, exposing the true extent of human rights abuses at sea globally, from the UK to South-East Asia.

Steve Trent Thailand

Thailand’s progress on illegal fishing

At the start of the year, Thailand was under a 'yellow card' warning from the EU, meaning that urgent reforms were needed in its fishing sector. In January, that yellow card was lifted in recognition of progress made.

Later that same month, Thailand became the first country in Asia to ratify international standards protecting fishers. Best of all, following our meetings with the Royal Thai Government in October, Thailand committed to ending illegal fishing in four years. As more pressure returns from the trawler lobby to reverse this progress, we will continue to speak up for the fishers and wildlife threatened by the scourge of illegal fishing.

Savanna Region 2015 Credited

The world wakes up to the climate emergency

2019 saw huge protests on the climate breakdown, with public awareness, concern and action reaching unprecedented levels. In May, the UK government declared a climate emergency, but no real progress has emerged - we outlined key priorities here.

We stood up for the climate ourselves at the climate strike, but we recognise action must be global. In Brazil, the Amazon burned, fire used as a weapon against the hundreds of thousands of indigenous people for whom it is home - but we can all be a part of the fight against this senseless destruction.

Climate refugees need our support and recognition, and our exhibition of their photographs and stories appeared in Hamburg and Edinburgh this year. This showed the real people affected, behind the dry statistics of temperature increases or parts per million of greenhouse gases. We will be building up our investigations and advocacy on forests and climate even more in 2020 - watch this space.


Exposing illegal fishing and human rights abuses

This year, we have exposed illegal fishing around the world, from high-speed chases on the open ocean to fish markets. In Korea, our team found widespread evidence of seafood fraud, which is a way of hiding what is really being sold and where it was caught. In Ghana, we investigated 'saiko' fishing, where coastal waters are plundered by massive foreign vessels, stopping local fishers from making a living and threatening food security in the region, and in Vietnam's fishing fleet, we found evidence of child labour and rampant ecosystem destruction. By shining a light on this human and ecological tragedy, our investigations are forcing action and creating momentum for change.

Finally, thank you. None of this could have been achieved without you, our wonderful supporters.

We have achieved a great deal together and we look forward to achieving much more next year, working to protect people and planet, when we will also be celebrating our 20th anniversary!

Wishing each of you a very peaceful, happy and fulfilling 2020 together with our heartfelt thanks for your support.