Greenpeace bust sees Taiwanese fishing vessel escorted home
A Taiwanese fishing boat is being escorted back to Taiwan after being busted for illegal fishing in the Pacific Ocean.
A Taiwanese fishing boat is being escorted back to Taiwan by the Taiwanese authorities after being busted for illegal fishing in the north west Pacific Ocean.
Greenpeace's Lagi Toribau told Sally Round the environmental watchdog boarded the vessel two weeks ago and now aims to get the Shuen De Ching No 888 banned from operating.
Greenpeace approaches the longline vessel Shuen De Ching No 888 which the organisation says offloaded its catch to another ship to avoid monitoring mechanisms. Photo/ Paul Hilton
Shark tails found in the freezer of the Shuen De Ching No.888. Greenpeace says they counted 620 fins and 42 tail fins in the holds when they boarded. Photo/ Paul Hilton
The Rainbow Warrior pulls up alongside the Sheun De Ching. Greenpeace says when the Taiwanese patrol boat boarded the vessel after the bust it found only 110 fins compared to the 620 fins the activists found. Photo/Paul Hilton
Greenpeace says the Taiwan Fisheries Agency is escorting vessel back to Taiwan where the ship faces suspension from operations for up to a year. Photo/ Paul Hilton
Greenpeace says under Taiwanese law and Pacific fishing rules, shark fins may not exceed 5% of the weight of the shark catch, and with only three shark carcasses reported in the log book, the vessel was in clear violation of both. Photo/Paul Hilton
The Nauru government says it banned transhipments following the Greenpeace bust. Transhipments allows a longliner to offload its catch to a bigger mother ship out at sea and avoid monitoring measures at ports. Pictured are the crew on the Shuen De Ching. Photo/ Paul Hilton
Sharkfins found in the vessel's freezer. Greenpeace says expert analysis shows many of the fins came from the vulnerable silky shark, a species protected by the Pacific Tuna Commission due to their plummeting numbers. Photo/ Paul Hilton
A yellowfin tuna is hauled on board the fishing vessel Shuen De Ching. Photo/ Paul Hilton.
Tuna in the Shuen De Ching's freezer. Photo/ Paul Hilton
Greenpeace activists on board the Shuen De Ching. Photo/ Paul Hilton
LAGI TORIBAU: The main discrepancy was that according to the captain's log book, for the entire two months, he officially reported three sharks but upon us going into the refrigerator we found there were at least 42 tail fins, and this basically means there were 42 bodies of sharks that they had caught but the captain is only reporting three and we're still calling for a transparent investigation into this case because there is still a lot more to be uncovered.
SALLY ROUND: Why was the Taiwanese boat so accommodating in letting you come aboard?
LT: Well, yeah this is a very interesting question, we normally have a debate about this here on our ship as well. Obviously we do not have any official powers to go onboard or do any formal inspection, so a lot of what we do is under the pretence of our right as an international organisation to peaceful protest that we do get the permission of the captain. Because of the vastness of the Pacific ocean and because of how big it is here, my personal view of this is that a lot of these fishing boats know that it is quite rare to get patrol boats coming up into the high seas because they know this is sort of their playground, this is a safe haven and for a lot of these fishing and corporations, they know the restrictions, they know the limitations and resources that our Pacific governments have. For example, Kiribati, is one of the 17 countries that shares this rich tuna fishing ground, their entire national waters is well over 3.2 million square kilometres of ocean yet they only have one patrol boat and every day there are at least 3,500 longliners that are licensed to operate openly in the Pacific. So the chances of finding an illegal operator in the vast Pacific ocean and recognising the limitation in enforcement and police capabilities of our countries, these are things they don't recognise and I think the hostility level here is less.
SR: So you're guess is that the captain might have thought you didn't have the capacity to discover any illegal goings on?
LT: Yeah I think they would have probably also thought that we were acting in collaboration with a Pacific island country, because we have done that before, we have gone into an official agreement with certain Pacific island countries for us to officially undertake surveillance exercises in their national waters and because we have the ship, we're an extra eye out, we do have a helicopter on board which increases our chance of covering a larger part of their ocean and this is an area that for Pacific governments, we see eye to eye on, so it is an area that is of mutual interest in working towards ending illegal fishing.
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