Three fishing vessels with a murky history of dubious activity and hopping from one flag of convenience to another has been blacklisted by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) at its 26th session meeting in the Seychelles.
The decision follows an investigation by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), which also resulted in Israr 1, Israr 2 and Israr 3 being dropped by their insurer earlier this year, and the three had already been placed on the ICCAT blacklist in 2021.
The three vessels have operated in recent years under a variety of names and changes of registry have taken place at frequent intervals.
According to EJF, the vessels’ owners, believed to be based in Oman, have gone to significant lengths to obscure the scope of their activities, both in terms of names and registrations, and also fishing activities in both Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
‘I applaud both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean tuna commissions for taking action to prevent this fleet from continuing to decimate ocean ecosystems with impunity – however tackling each illegal fleet one by one is not the solution,’ said EJF CEO Steve Trent, commenting that several member nations urged the IOTC this week to black list these vessels.
‘Cracking down on opacity by preventing the use of flags of convenience and improving port inspections, coupled with the publishing and sharing of information – such as vessel license lists, history of offences, and full ownership details – can help governments, regional fisheries management organisations, law-abiding fishing companies, NGOs, retailers and even consumers to work together to rid our oceans of these damaging operators. We need to hold these illegal operators to account, and that starts with transparency.’