Greenpeace scored a meaningful victory in its efforts to halt pirates overfishing in the North Atlantic. At least a third of the cod caught and landed in the Baltic is taken illegally, severely hampering recovery of fish populations. On October 2, with Greenpeace insistence, Russian authorities began detaining "The Trawler girls," five notorious ships docked in their port for refueling…
The Trawler girls are five Russian ships, named Carmen, Eva, Isabella, Juanita, Rosita and Ulla, that have been blacklisted by the European Union, Iceland, North-East Atlantic Fisheries Comission (NEAFC) and North West Atlantic Fisheries Comission (NAFO).
The ships, under Georgian flags, were blacklisted because they have been involved in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. They continued to overfish for many months, despite their blacklisted status. In mid-September, as the Trawler Sisters docked in the Russian port of Kaliningrad, the Greenpeace operation, Defending Our Oceans, called on Russian authorities to live up to their obligations under NEAFC rules.
The crew of the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, awoke to good news October 3. Ivona wrote on their Web log:
"The first thing I heard in the mess room this morning was: ‘We Won!’
"I repeated to myself still half asleep. ‘We won?’ After a moment I began to realize what this meant for us… We received a letter from the Russian authorities late last night. Our demands regarding the ‘trawler sisters’ […] are being met by the Russian authorities."
Captain V.F. Morozov of the Kaliningrad Sea Fisheries Port has committed to:
- Conducting an inspection of the ships
- Refusal to process ship documents or documents of the crew, effectively detaining them in the port of Kaliningrad
- Withholding provisions such as fuel until a final decision is made by "the appropriate organs"
Ivona and her fellow Ocean Defenders were impressed — and a bit shocked — that their lobbying produced such a swift and smooth reaction from authorities.
"It was something reminescant of the reaction to the Probo Koala case last week. Russia, reacted positively, which is very promising for future circumstances dealing with pirate fisheries.
"I feel we are breaking all kinds of beaucratic red-tape. This is a very meaningful victory in our fight with fishing pirates! We sincerely hope our work here will set a precedent on how countries around the world react to fishing piracy. We also hope that the events of the last hours will resurrect the importance of the NEAFC rules and regulations.
"Despite our victory today, we are going to follow next steps in this case, and we will have an eye out for the ‘trawler girls.’ We hope they are decomissioned, and can steal no more."
(Weblog of the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise)
Thank you to GNN supporter, Andreas Borg, for submitting these links