Not the Same Old Tuna – #3
PA – 2, The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and its adjacent seas – ICCAT.
17th -27th November Paris
During the Panel session number 2, responsible for the conservation of bluefin tuna, the fate of the ships announced as “removed” was often mentioned. The EU, for example, announced that 126 purse seine vessels and 130 longline vessels have been “removed” from the bluefin tuna fleet between 2008 and 2010, without giving precise information on the ships’ demolition, conversion or any other mode of decommissioning. Contracting parties from the Eastern Mediterranean also announced the “removal” of fishing boats and tugs assigned to transporting cages without providing detailed information on their demolition or their redeployment for another purpose.
It appears that these loopholes are not, strictly speaking, dealt with as deficiencies or nonconformities within the plan to restore bluefin tuna populations which was implemented by ICCAT. However, exact information of the ships fates would be useful, and would foster mutual confidence, validating each countries plan to reduce their capacity and as well as that of the EU.
This is why Robin des Bois suggests that the EU, which has a subsidized plan on the dismantlement of ships, officially publishes an up to date list of ship-breaking yards where purse seine ships and longline ships have been destroyed, thus paving the way for transparency for other contracting parties.
Since 2006 Robin des Bois has regularly published an inventory of all ships with an IMO number leaving to be broken up – see bulletin “ship-breaking.com”, which is available at www.robindesbois.org –. This inventory does not pretend to be exhaustive, but it is nevertheless significant that between January 1st, 2006 and October 15th, 2010, out of 2,798 ships (all categories included) heading to be dismantled; only 52 were fishing boats. It should be pointed out that out of these 52 fishing boats, 7 boats were caught fishing illegally and banned from fishing or docking at a port of a Member State of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) – see bulletin “Ship-breaking.com” #10 –. To demonstrate, one of the ships sent to demolition was the Guinean Inaara, built in Japan in 1972 and recorded by the Indian Ocean Tuna Committee as a vessel fishing for tunas then transferred to the South Atlantic Ocean – see “Ship-breaking.com” #21, page 8.
Robin des Bois therefore encourages ICCAT and its contracting parties to undertake efforts to improve the traceability of withdrawn fishing boats and considers this step a reinforcement of the battle against illegal fishing in the area of ICCAT and the other Regional Organizations of Fishing Management.