Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Ridgeway Gives Long-liners a Lashing

Seabird champion delivers colossal petition against pirate fishing

Just a week after completing his year-long round the world voyage in support of BirdLife`s Save the Albatross campaign, John Ridgway yesterday urged UN delegates in Rome to do more in the fight against pirate longline fishing. John, along with his wife Marie-Christine and representatives from BirdLife International, presented a petition to the UN`s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), calling for urgent action to safeguard the future of albatross and other seabirds. More than 105,000 people from 131 countries signed the petition, including Helen Clarke, Prime Minister of New Zealand. The Prince of Wales has also been a keen supporter of the campaign.

I am desperate to help the albatross and absolutely thrilled that so many people have signed the petition. But this really is the eleventh hour. The fishing nations of the world must put the pirates out of business by stopping them selling fish or even entering port, he said.More than 300,000 seabirds, including 100,000 albatrosses are killed by long-line fishing vessels every year. Many of these ships are pirate vessels sailing under flags of convenience. Pirate fishing is a highly sophisticated form of organised crime, and a major contributor to the extinction threat faced by all 21 albatross species. The FAO`s International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, was adopted in March 2001. The meeting, which began in Rome on June 24, was called to review progress towards putting the plan into action, nationally and internationally.

Most pirate fishing vessels are owned by companies based in Taiwan, Spain, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, China and Equatorial Guinea. It`s time the UN applied pressure to prevent the criminal actions responsible for this senseless slaughter, Said Kevin Hackwell, Conservation Director, Forest and Bird, New Zealand.The petition, which was put together through the hard work of Forest and Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand) and other BirdLife Partners, calls on UN states to:

Outlaw flag of convenience fishing vessels and deny them access to markets and ports
Ratify legally binding agreements, including the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), to protect albatrosses and other marine life
Fund and resource efforts to catch and prosecute pirate vessels and share intelligence on them, in order to produce a globally agreed blacklist of offenders

BirdLife`s Director, Dr Mike Rands, said: More than 100,000 people have signed this petition, alerting the world to the very real possibility of a future in which albatrosses no longer grace our oceans. This magnificent show of public support must now be followed up with tough action from the world`s governments to outlaw pirate fishing once and for all.

4th July 2014