Government recognition for EJF
Oct 10, 2010

Government recognition for EJF

By EJF Staff

The UK government has paid tribute to EJF’s fight against illegal fishing, saying it ‘values its work in highlighting the impacts of illegal fishing, notably in West Africa.’

London October 2010

The government’s spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Lord Henley, was responding to a question from Lord Jones about EJF’s most recent report, All at Sea, which exposed extensive human rights abuses suffered by crews working on illegal ‘pirate’ fishing vessels.

All at Sea highlighted that as well as devastating marine environments and stealing from developing coastal states, individuals working on ‘pirate’ fishing vessels can be subject to excessive working hours, incarceration, and physical abuse up to and including murder.

Calling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing a ‘serious environmental crime,’ Lord Henley said the UK was ‘pressing for concerted international action to fight illegal fishing’ and reiterated the government’s support for a global record of fishing vessels.

A global record of fishing vessels, containing information on vessel identification, ownership and control, has been proposed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and will be debated by government representatives at the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in January 2011. The plan is supported by NGO’s who consider it a key step in combating the activities of IUU fishing operators.

"A global record for fishing vessels is not only necessary, it is urgent. At a time when 80 per cent of fish stocks are fully exploited, over exploited or depleted, we simply cannot afford to allow unidentifiable fishing vessels to roam the oceans, without regulation or punishment for their activities.
Alongside ending the exploitation of Flags of Convenience by IUU operators and identifying the worst offending operators through a company blacklist, this step could have a significant and tangible impact on the sustainability of marine environments, the livelihoods of coastal communities and the human rights of fishers," Steve Trent, EJF's Executive Director