30% of cod in the Baltic Sea stolen by pirates, says Greenpeace – Fishupdate.com

30% of cod in the Baltic Sea stolen by pirates, says Greenpeace Published:  07 September, 2006

The Arctic Sunrise is in the Baltic as part of Greenpeace’s campaign

AT least a third of the cod caught and landed in the Baltic is stolen, and pirate fishing is making the recovery of certain populations impossible, according to a new report by Greenpeace.

In Poland last year the figure was even higher, with 45% of the Eastern Baltic Cod caught estimated to be illegal, unreported to authorities or in breach of regulations.

“A legitimate company would never dream of buying or selling a product

where they knew a third of the parts where stolen goods. Still large

distributors and manufacturers of fish products ignore that their raw

material could be totally illegal, and look the other way while our seas are being destroyed,” said Ida Udovic, Ocean Campaigner onboard Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise in the port of Malmö.

Greenpeace says the illegal and legal catches are mixed in the ports and it is impossible to point out exactly where the illegal cod ends up. Poland, which is the centre for cod filleting across the region, last year supplied Western Europe with over 41 000 tons of cod filets. The bulk, 44%, went to the UK; Germany took 13%, Denmark 12% and Belgium 9%. Among the companies that buy cod from Baltic catches are Pickenpack and Frosta (Germany), Fjord Seafood (Netherlands), Västkustfilé (Sweden) and Royal Greenland (Denmark).

Most of the Baltic cod is sold as fresh whole fish or fillets either to retailers or restaurants. The exception is the large Danish company Espersen A/S having a key role in processing and distributing frozen fillets for various brands.

“No company that sources fish from the eastern Baltic can guarantee that their products do not include fish that is caught by pirate fishing vessels,” added Udovic.

Despite the large-scale illegal fishing on cod the Baltic Sea states

routinely fail to take action, Greenpeace claims. The maximum average fine recently imposed anywhere in the region has been a mere 538 euros.

The Arctic Sunrise is in the Baltic as part of the Defending Our Oceans campaign and will be highlighting the issue of pirate fishing throughout the region. Greenpeace is demanding a network of marine reserves to shut down the pirate trade and allow vital cod stocks to recover. It says marine reserves make controls much easier than the current patchwork of regulations that have made control impossible. In addition, it says all fishing vessels in the Baltic should have a device onboard enabling electronic surveillance, controls ashore and off shore should increase and a black list for all vessels caught

cheating should be established. At the same time the Greenpeace ship,

Esperanza is in the Pacific, also highlighting the issue of stolen fish.

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