BLUE MARINE FOUNDATION REPLY AGAINST EUROPÊCHE STATEMENT
Blue Marine Foundation reply against Europêche statement. In a recent article published on the Fish Focus website, which can be found here, Europêche tuna group slammed the report accusing the EU fleet of illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean. Blue Marine Foundation have issued a reply in response to the statement.
As per EU, Seychelles and Mauritius fisheries control processes, catches declared in logbooks by fishers are collected, crosschecked, by national scientific institutes with VMS (vessel monitoring system), the official fisheries positioning control tool, transmitted to the flag states and verified by their control services, sent to the EU authorities and provided to IOTC’s Secretariat and Compliance Committee, to be finally published and discussed among country members.
Europêche challenged the findings of the report saying it would mean that all those actors would have missed such big and obvious IUU fishing activities in no less than eight coastal states’ waters, none of them claiming any illegal activity from the EU, Seychelles or Mauritius fleets either.
Blue Marine Foundation have issued the following reply to Europêche’s challenge of the report:
“The report showing the locations of EU vessels is based on the findings of a study commissioned by Blue Marine Foundation and undertaken by OceanMind – a highly reputable organisation – which in turn was based on publicly-available data reported by the EU and published by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission on its website. This data shows, for example, evidence of fishing on the part of vessels flagged to Spain in the waters of Somalia (in 2017 and 2018) and India (2018 and 2019). Europêche claims that ‘No fishing took place from EU vessels in any coastal state waters without agreement in place.’ We would like to request that Europêche shares with us the access agreements that were in place with Somalia and India when this fishing activity was reported by the EU. There is evidence to suggest that some of these fleets are fishing in coastal states’ waters without any kind of authorisation and we call on the European Commission to investigate these instances as a matter of urgency.” Charles Clover, executive director of Blue Marine Foundation