NAIROBI (Reuters) – Greenpeace has discovered the widespread use of illegal driftnets in the northwest Indian Ocean, which it says is destroying marine life in fishery areas that are extremely vulnerable to ecosystems. One of the best in the world
During two weeks at sea, the environmental organization said it had filmed seven boats within 20 square miles (50 square kilometers) using driftnets to catch tuna. Eight more ships were detected on the radar using a nautical pattern that suggested the use of nets.
“If yellowfin tuna continues to decline at current rates, regional food security and the domestic economy will be greatly affected,”; said Greenpeace.
Nicknamed The “wall of death” for the number of other marine life they catch besides the fish they set out was banned by the United Nations 30 years ago.
Greenpeace shared a photo with Reuters of sharks and manta rays killed in nets, some 800km east of Somalia. “Due to fishing problems, we are concerned about all the fish in the Indian Ocean.” It added that the same area also showed a significant increase in uncontrolled fishing.
“What is the issue in the UN banning drifting nets when all the fishing boats we see use drift nets?” Asked Greenpeace UK Ocean Leader Will McCallum, in a comment to Reuters.
“There is little or no enforcement in international waters … We need a global ocean treaty … to address this massive regulatory gap.
The nations are scheduled to meet in August to negotiate the deal, which is designed to try to set up defenses for parts of the ocean similar to established terrestrial reserves.
Last month, representatives from 30 countries met to discuss how to save a rapidly depleting tuna stock in the Indian Ocean. The meeting ended without any new agreement.
Reporting by Katharine Houreld and Maggie Fick; Edited by John Stonestreet.