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Shark fins detected on Chinese fishing vessels
2017-04-19 16:31:53 copyfrom： hits:
Shark fins. (Photo: Stock File)
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
Shark fins have been discovered on two Chinese fishing vessels during a joint surveillance conducted by Greenpeace and Guinean fishery authorities.
In addition, it was detected that one of the vessels had illegally altered fishing nets on board, while a third Chinese vessel was caught using illegal nets and fishing for species outside of its license.
Apart from the shark fins, the NGO also found numerous carcasses of sharks including hammerhead sharks, an endangered species, and manta rays on board several vessels.
“What we’re seeing here is an utter lack of respect for West African fishing laws. It also shows that local laws need to be strengthened to meet international standards where endangered sharks are no longer a legal catch. That is why we are recommending that coastal states improve their monitoring capacity and local legislation to protect marine life and livelihoods of local fishing communities," pointed out Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace Africa Oceans campaigner.
Greenpeace reported that during last week’s joint surveillance together with local officials, 12 vessels were inspected and boarded, which included 9 Chinese vessels, 1 Korean vessel, and 2 Guinean-flagged vessels. In one of the Chinese vessels, a letter was found issued by China’s distant water fishing association on March 10 and reminding Chinese fishing vessels to fish legally and to be cooperative with authorities’ inspections.
Referring to the issue, Pavel Klinckhamers, campaign leader, stressed that they thought the letter would have deterred Chinese fishing vessels from illegal activities during the period of the joint patrols, but apparently this was not the case as several fishing vessels belonging to Chinese companies continued their illegal fishing practices, despite the warning.
“This shows the complete disregard of local laws by these companies, while they should behave as responsible guests in these waters,” the environmentalist stated.
Currently 41 demersal and pelagic vessels are licenced to operate in Guinean waters, 85 per cent of which are Chinese owned.
All in all, Greenpeace is demanding that West African governments take responsibility and work together to manage both foreign and local fishing activities in their waters so resources can be distributed fairly and sustainably, and a prosperous future for local communities and people living along the shores of West Africa can be safeguarded.
The two vessels with shark fins on board have been fined USD 264,787.50 each, while the third vessel has been fined USD 370,702.50. The catches from all of the vessels have been seized by Guinean authorities.
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