Aquaculture for all

Greenpeace Blocks Tuna Ship Leaving Port

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TAIWAN - A Greenpeace blacklisted tuna factory ship was blocked from leaving port earlier this week by Greenpeace climbers from the Rainbow Warrior.

The Rainbow Warrior crew locked themselves to the anchor chain while campaigners called on Taiwan's Fisheries Agency to investigate the ship’s owners, who are in apparent breach of Taiwan’s laws.

e departure of the Pacific-bound fish carrier, Lung Yuin was delayed for several hours until one of the Grennpeace activists was taken off the anchor chain by police and arrested. She has now been released without charges.

The Lung Yuin has left port to facilitate the plunder of tuna from the Pacific Ocean, which will eventually end up for sale in Japan, Taiwan and the US, says Greenpeace. The ship, which is one of the vessels on the Greenpeace blacklist, was apprehended in Japan in 2004 for illegal fishing and has faced allegations of onboard human rights abuses in recent years.

Taiwanese Lungsoon Group, owners of Lung Yuin, has a fleet of thirteen tuna long-line fishing vessels, and frequently delivers frozen tuna to Japan's lucrative sashimi market. It also provides albacore tuna to the US tinned tuna brands Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea and Starkist.

"The Rainbow Warrior crew initially called attention Saturday night to the Lung Yuin by projecting messages including "Illegal in Taiwan?" "Investigate now!" and "Pacific tuna plunder" on the side of the ship. And Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency confirmed later on that the vessel’s owners have not registered their flag of convenience operations in Taiwan as required by Taiwanese law."

"Industrial fishing is rampant in in the Pacific ocean, home to the fisheries that supply roughly 60 per cent of the world's tuna. Scientists have warned that Pacific bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks are already in sharp decline because of legal and illegal overfishing, and the long-line fleets, like those helped by the Lung Yuin in the Pacific are poorly regulated and frequently engage in pirate fishing."

"Refrigerated factory ships, like the Lung Yuin, are also known as 'reefers' and are often used as getaway vehicles for smuggling tuna out of the Pacific region. The illegal transfer of fish at sea is thought to be rampant in the Pacific, where it was documented for the first time in 2008 by Greenpeace."

Greenpeace believes that Taiwan needs to support the improvement of international regulation for Pacific tuna fisheries and the creation of large marine reserves in the Pacific Commons. Fishing efforts need to be reduced by 50 per cent together with an immediate ban on the transfer of fish at sea.