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Source: EJF

Around 90% of Ghana’s industrial fishing fleet is linked to Chinese ownership, an investigation by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has revealed. This is despite the fact that Ghana’s laws clearly forbid any foreign ownership or control of vessels flying its flag. The Chinese and Ghanaian governments must now work together to eradicate the illegal fishing practices which are rife in Ghana’s industrial fleet, improve transparency and sanction those contravening ownership laws.

To ensure that the financial benefits from industrial fisheries go directly to Ghana, rather than being sent overseas, Ghana’s Fisheries Act states that these craft cannot be owned, or part owned, by any foreign interest, with the sole exception of tuna vessels.

However, EJF has revealed that foreign companies – overwhelmingly Chinese – operate through Ghanaian ‘front’ companies, using opaque corporate structures to import their vessels and register and obtain a licence. In 2015, 90% of industrial trawl vessels licensed in Ghana were built in China, and 95% were captained by Chinese nationals.

Continue reading China’s hidden fleet: Illegal practices in Ghana’s industrial fishery


Source: CBC

Officials from five Arctic countries and five major distant fishing powers are meeting in Greenland Wednesday to sign a legally binding international accord that will protect nearly three million square kilometres of the Central Arctic Ocean from unregulated fishing.

The agreement, which will be signed in Ilulissat, will prevent commercial fishing in the high seas of the world’s smallest ocean for at least 16 years while scientific research is conducted to learn more about its marine life and resources.

The agreement includes the so-called Arctic Five – Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark (Greenland and the Faroe Islands), the United States – as well as the major fishing nations – Iceland, Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union.

Continue reading Canada, EU and 8 other countries set to sign ‘historic’ agreement to protect Central Arctic Ocean


Source: Foreign Policy

Humans have always depended on the sea. For as long as there have been fishermen, there have been conflicts over fish. And though it may seem anachronistic, the odds that a squabble over fishing rights could turn into a major armed conflict are rising. The return of great-power competition has actually increased the likelihood of a war over fish. The past 17 years of the fight against terrorism, and Washington’s renewed focus on developing high-end capabilities to prepare for great-power conflict, have led to a lack of preparation for a low-end, seemingly mundane but increasingly likely source of conflict in the world: food.

As incomes rise around the world, so too does the demand for food—especially protein. The United Nations currently estimates that between mid-2017 and 2050, the number of humans on Earth will rise by 29 percent, from 7.6 billion to 9.8 billion. Most of that population growth will occur in Asia, Africa, and Latin America—areas where millions of people have recently risen from deep poverty to the middle class. Part of a middle-class lifestyle is a middle-class diet, which includes far more protein than poor people consume. As a result of that shift, the global demand for protein will outpace population growth, increasing between 32 and 78 percent, according to some estimates. Meeting that demand could require an additional 62 to 159 million metric tons of protein per year. To maintain political support at home, leaders must ensure access to the high-quality food that is part of a middle-class lifestyle.


Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

How one international treaty could combat illegal fishing and save lives


In an effort to maximize profits, operators who fish illegally or under-report catch often cut corners with how they manage their vessels, further endangering workers in one of the world’s most hazardous professions. Illegal fishers often lack sufficient on-board safety equipment or ignore regulations governing vessel modifications. They may also operate for extended periods of time without undergoing safety inspections, are more apt to fish in dangerous weather, and are less likely to maintain decent working conditions.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated in 1999 that 24,000 people die every year in the fishing sector—more than 10 times the number on merchant ships. Yet fishing vessels and their crews are excluded from nearly all international maritime regulations, such as safety certifications or working condition inspections, meaning that exploitative practices can go undetected.

Continue reading The Cape Town Agreement Explained


Source: SeafoodSource

Author: Chris Loew*

Japan and Peru, two of the world’s biggest players when it comes to seafood, are hoping to crack down on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in their exclusive economic zones through increased use of cutting-edge technology.

A key player in both countries’ efforts is the Global Fishing Watch, an international nonprofit organization with the goal of “advancing sustainability of the oceans through increased transparency.” Its mapping platform, which can be found on the GFW website, allows anyone to view or download data and investigate global fishing activity in near real-time, for free. GFW was founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google.

Global Fishing Watch’s tracking of automatic identification system (AIS) messages from ocean-going boats is now being used to fight illegal transshipment inside and near Japan’s exclusive economic zone. GFW recently signed onto a collaboration with the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) and the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong to investigate IUU fishing and strengthen transparency and governance of fisheries within the region.

Continue reading Japan, Peru using cutting-edge technology to combat IUU