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Monday, March 27, 2006

Greenpeace helps Guinea catch fishing "pirates" off West Africa

Leading me to wonder whatever happened to the word "poacher" comes this tribute to Greenpeace helping the government of Guinea enforce its Exclusive Economic Zone:
Environmental group Greenpeace said on Monday it was helping Guinea hunt for foreign trawlers fishing illegally in West African waters and threatening the livelihoods of local communities.

Greenpeace said it had been monitoring nearly 70 vessels off West Africa over the past ten days and found many operating illegally and depleting fish stocks.

Two Guinean officials with the powers of arrest had joined its surveillance boat, it said.

"Pirate fishing is a global threat to the oceans and those who depend on them," Greenpeace oceans campaigner Sarah Duthie said in a statement.

"The first thing that must be done is to close ports to pirate fishing boats, deny them access to markets and ensure that companies are prosecuted," she said.

The authorities in Guinea, which lacks any efficient marine surveillance system, said Greenpeace had started working in their waters on Sunday and would continue its operation until Thursday.

"They are working in the context of a programme involving a large stretch of the West African zone, down from Gambia," said Pascal Konate, deputy director of Guinea's national fishing protection and surveillance centre.

Greenpeace said of the 67 foreign-flagged vessels it had been monitoring from Korea, China, Italy, Liberia and Belize, 19 were not authorised to fish.

Eight vessels were within the 12-mile (19 km) limit reserved for local fishermen.

The group said foreign trawlers typically transferred the illegal catch to refrigerated ships which then transported it to Europe, often through Las Palmas in Spain's Canary Islands.
Some interesting(?) - important- legal issues on the EEZ here.

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