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Global Overfishing

Global Overfishing Names 20 Culprits

Greenpeace released a list of Global Overfishing Names 20 Culprits examples of the most destructive and oversized fishing vessels operating under European flags, ownership or management.

The list features some of the most significant culprits of global overfishing and the destruction of marine life in all five oceans.
Global OverfishingOverfishing is a global problem with alarming and indisputable consequences: 90 percent of fish stocks are either fully or overexploited [1].  Greenpeace calls on governments to urgently start removing monster boats like those named on the list from oversized industrial fishing fleets around the world.

“A relatively small number of industrial fishing barons are recklessly making huge profits from our oceans, with little respect for environmental and social considerations. They use tricks – like changing the identity and flag of their vessels or using front companies and tax havens to increase their access to fishing grounds or, blatantly circumvent rules and regulations. Governments must stop turning a blind eye to overfishing by taking action on monster boats and support low-impact fishers instead.” said Nina Thuellen, EU fisheries project coordinator.Global Overfishing

Monster boats like the ones on the list contribute most to the depletion and destruction of our oceans and affect coastal fishing communities around the world. Greenpeace used a set of criteriato identify monster boats, including:

  • the vessels’ fish catching and holding capacity;
  • the destructiveness of the vessels’ fishing gear;
  • operational characteristics of the vessels and companies concerned;
  • the environmental and socio-economic impact of fishing activities; and
  • involvement in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing or other dodgy activities.

Various United Nations bodies have repeatedly warned of the dire situation of fish stocks and have identified excess fishing capacity as a critical driver of overfishing. Parts of the EU fleet are considered to be able to fish two to three times the sustainable level [2].

In the coming months, fisheries ministers in the European Union (EU) will set catch levels for 2015 and distribute resulting fishing opportunities to Global Overfishingcompanies and individuals nationally. Catch levels for Baltic cod and salmon stocks, agreed in October, exceed recommended levels, indicating that ministers are quick to please the industry with little consideration for stock recovery.

By focusing attention on some of the top culprits of global overfishing, Greenpeace is challenging governments to eliminate excessive fishing capacity compared to what the oceans can provide, where it matters most, and to give preferential access to fishing opportunities to low-impact fishers, as required under the new EU Common Fisheries Policy [3].

Today, Greenpeace has also released a website calling on people to sign up in support of low impact fishers and help ensure fair fishing http://www.greenpeace.org/fishfairly.



Christina Koll, European Communications Manager, Oceans, ckoll@greenpeace.org, +45 28109021

For pictures of the 20 monster boats:

Alex Yallop, Photo Editor Greenpeace International, alex.yallop@greenpeace.org, +31 62494 19 65 or get the photos here:


Global OverfishingNotes:

[1] The FAO reports that “in 2011, 28.8 percent of fish stocks were estimated as fished at a biologically unsustainable level and therefore overfished. Of the total number of stocks assessed in 2011, fully fished stocks accounted for 61.3 percent and underfished stocks 9.9 percent.” FAO:http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3720e.pdf (page 37, numbers from 2011)

[2] European Commission (2008) Reflections on further reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.http://www.cfp-reformwatch.eu/pdf/reflection_cfp_08_mid.pdf

[3] The rules governing fishing fleets in the European Union (EU) have recently been reformed. The new rules require the EU to lower its fishing pressure by the start of next year (2015) to levels below the rate that will enable stocks to rebuild. They also specify that governments must promote responsible, low-impact fishing and put in place action plans to eliminate overcapacity where it exists. Fishing opportunities should preferentially be given to those operators who fish in the least environmentally damaging way and who provide the greatest benefits for society.

by Greenpeace

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