Monday, February 20, 2012

Greenpeace Exposes Pirate Fishing Off Andaman Coast


Greenpeace Exposes Pirate Fishing Off Andaman Coast

Governance gaps in marine fisheries allow illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing to go unabated in the EEZ.

During  its ongoing month long expedition to highlight the urgent need for marine conservation in India, activists from the Greenpeace ship MV Esperanza encountered four Burmese vessels fishing illegally in the Indian economic exclusive zone (EEZ) off the Andaman Islands coast on 19 Feb 2012.  The vessels did not have proper registration documents or a clearly displayed name.  Their catch consisted of mainly shark and some yellow fin tuna. All four vessels left for Burmese waters as soon as the Esperanza caught up with them and contacted them.
Indian law only permits Indian vessels in its national waters and the EEZ. The abundant presence of illegal foreign vessels is again proof of the gaping loopholes in the failing Indian governance of their marine waters. Greenpeace called on the Indian Coast Guards to investigate these illegally operating fishing vessels and will continue to engage with them to redress the situation. 
India's marine management has been riddled with irregularities and poor enforcement which has resulted in overfishing and further degradation of India's oceans. This not only leads to spread of illegal and unsustainable fishing practices in the Indian EEZ , but also loss of livelihoods for the Indian fishermen since the fish caught by the foreign vessels goes unreported and unaccounted for. The whole of February, the biggest and fastest Greenpeace ship investigates the threats posed to our oceans and therefore the livelihoods of hundreds of millions dependent on them.  An estimated 10 to 12 million people in India rely on fisheries for food or employment, either directly or indirectly. The losses accrued from IUU fishing in the Indian EEZ, are estimated between $250 to $ 320 million annually.
 "The occurrence of these illegal vessels is a perfect example of an industry that continues the unsustainable plunder of our oceans. To demonstrate that India is serious about controlling its own fishing industry and protect coastal communities, it needs to put an immediate end to practices of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing going on in our EEZ"  Areeba Hamid, Greenpeace India Oceans Campaigner said.
"The Ministry of Agriculture has to put in place an effective fisheries management plan which is based on a sustainable approach, secures the livelihoods of millions, protects fragile marine ecosystems and stops pirate fishing.  As part of its commitment to biodiversity conservation, India will host the eleventh Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2012. As host nation, COP 11 is an opportunity for India to be a progressive and important player on the global conservation stage. But in order to be a true ocean conservation champion, India should take measures to protect its own territorial waters, on which millions depend upon, right now."Hamid said.

1 comment:

Mannu said...

Interesting news read. CNN-IBN in an an special investigation reports shown in 25th Feb 2012, misquotes this same news as, "No foreigner fishing vessel is allowed to do fishing in Indian Exclusive Economic Zone which extends upto 200 nautical miles from Indian coastline". Fishing is definitely allowed under the UNCLOS, however the need is to preserve fishing of endangered fishes, sharks, for which the fishing vessels need to have special design nets. The guarantee of such nets is arranged by the flag states of fishing vessels, while Indian authorities have rights to check the registration documents of the fishing vessel with a view to check the proper fishing net being used by the fishing vessel.