Greenpeace calls for reduction of Taiwanese tuna fishing fleet in the Pacific –

Greenpeace calls for reduction of Taiwanese tuna fishing fleet in the Pacific Published:  23 September, 2011

Greenpeace has today urged the Taiwanese government to reduce its tuna fishing fleet in the Pacific, after activists on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza witnessed Taiwanese-owned ship Li Chyun No. 2 hauling a shark on board, one of many non-target species also caught with destructive tuna fishing methods.

The activists protested the ship’s destructive fishing methods with banners reading “No Fish, No Future” and “Stop Tuna Overfishing”, and called on the vessel’s captain to stop fishing in the Pacific Commons (1) – international waters that are vulnerable to pirate and destructive fishing.

Taiwan operates the largest fishing fleet in the Pacific with a total of 1,940 vessels (2), mostly longliners like Li Chyun No. 2, which belongs to the Taiwan-based Rich Fishery Co Ltd. Li Chyun No. 2’s records show it has already transferred fish at sea (3), a practice which can facilitate pirate fishing.

“Taiwan’s government must regulate its Pacific fleet in order to put an end to the overfishing that is driving threatened fish stocks towards collapse. Greenpeace is urging a fifty percent reduction in fishing effort in the region, which will give both Pacific tuna stocks and the people dependent on them a chance of survival,” said Yu Fen Kao, Greenpeace East Asia Oceans Campaigner.

According to Greenpeace, with tuna stocks in other oceans now depleted, fishing fleets from Asia, USA, and Europe have turned their attention to the Pacific, the source of more than half of all tuna consumed globally.

“Li Chyun No. 2 represents an industry that continues the reckless plunder of our oceans. Taiwan should support tighter international regulations to control fishing in international waters, including banning the transfer of fish at sea and the creation of marine reserves in the Pacific Commons,” said Karli Thomas, Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner, onboard the Esperanza.

The “Defending Our Pacific” expedition is part of a Greenpeace campaign to prevent the plunder of Pacific tuna and for the restoration of the health of the world’s oceans through the creation of marine reserves.

The international environment group is calling for marine reserves, off limits to fishing, to be established in four high seas pockets known as the Pacific Commons. Greenpeace is also seeking the reduction of tuna fishing efforts in the Pacific by 50%. These measures are important to return valuable fish stocks to a sustainable level.

Globally, Greenpeace is campaigning for a network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health. Around the world, Greenpeace is working with retailers and tuna brands across Europe, Australasia and the Americas to encourage a shift to sustainably-sourced tuna.