Andy Cornish's Blog

Dr Andy Cornish was raised in Hong Kong, and gained a strong interest in wildlife through spending time in Pokfulam Country Park. He studied Zoology at Nottingham University in England, travelled extensively through Central America where he learnt to scuba dive, and later did his PhD on reef fishes at the University of Hong Kong. Since then, he worked for a year doing coral reef management for the government of American Samoa, and taught in the Dept. of Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Hong Kong. He worked at WWF from 2005 to late 2012 as Conservation Director, and was responsible for four programmes: Climate, Footprint, Local Biodiversity and Regional Wetlands (including management of the Mai Po Nature Reserve). He remains involved in environmental issues on an independent basis.

"Hoover of the Sea" fined by EU

Super trawler caught illegally fishing
December 27, 2012

For most people, "illegal fishing" probaly conjures up an image of a small skiff with a couple of guys sneaking into a protected area under the cover of darkness. Or similar. The majority of incidents globally probably do involve small-scale opportunistic fishers, but here's a shocking example from the other end of the spectrum - deliberate, calculated piracy on an industrial scale.
These outfits are well resourced, and often do their dirty work away from developed countries where enforcement is weak, so its unusual for them to be caught red-handed like this - in the EU no less.
Th following article is taken from The Connexion online newspaper. It's quite incredible how unrepentent the owners of the vessel are, complaining instead about lost profits. Anyway, this just demonstrates the importance of knowing where your seafood comes from, and making sure that it is from sustainable sources to ensure that YOU are not bankrolling pirates like these. Use WWF's seafood guide whenever you can, now available in app form.
Happy holidays,
Trawler firm lands €595,000 fine
20 Dec 2012
OWNERS of one of the world’s largest trawlers have been fined €595,000 in Cherbourg after being stopped with €1.2million of illegally-caught fish in freezers.
It is thought to be the largest fine ever imposed for illegal fishing in the EU – and is France’s record illegal fisheries haul.
The 141-metre German-registered Maartje Theadora, nicknamed the Hoover of the Seas by Greenpeace activists, was stopped inside French territorial waters last week off Cap d'Antifer (Seine-Maritime), just north of Le Havre. It had 1,585 tonnes of illegal fish out of the 4,000 tonnes on board.
Owners Westbank Hochseefischerei and the 36-year-old captain admitted having changed the vessel’s nets after leaving port. Cherbourg prosecutor Eric Bouillard said it was against fisheries law to change nets after setting to sea.
Basse-Normandie regional fisheries committee president Daniel Lefèvre denounced “the permanent pillaging of the Channel by these fleets, which is ruining local fishermen. Such mammoth vessels have no place in the Channel.”
He said Normandy fishermen had an annual quota of 1,600 tonnes of mackerel and trawlers like the Maartje Theadora could catch that in just part of one trip.
The vessel left port immediately after the verdict and German owners Westbank Hochseefischerei said that the case, where the vessel had been tied up at Cherbourg since last Friday, had cost the company "€1.065m in lost fishing time". Diederik Parlevliet, of Dutch parent company Parlevliet & Van Der Plas, complained “in other countries we would have paid €25,000 to €35,000 maximum”.
German boss Uwe Richter added that it was a “disproportionate penalty” and added “until now, there has never been such a large fine imposed in the European Union for this type of offence”.
Fyi, Greenpeace has been campaigning against this vessel for some time



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