Pirate fishing vessel flees Sierra Leone to avoid sanctions
Dec 29, 2012

Pirate fishing vessel flees Sierra Leone to avoid sanctions

By EJF Staff

Following a call from a local fisher, EJF filmed and photographed the vessel Kum Myeong 2 fishing inside Sierra Leone’s Inshore Exclusion Zone (IEZ), an area reserved for artisanal fishers. The South Korean trawler had deliberately covered its name and markings and is believed to have destroyed the fishing equipment of local communities.

After receiving EJF’s evidence, the Sierra Leonean Government called the vessel to port but it has reportedly fled to neighbouring Guinea in order to escape sanctions. This is the eighth vessel documented fishing illegally by EJF during 2011 in the Sherbro River area in southern Sierra Leone. Seven of these vessels are accredited to export fish to Europe and once it enters a European port, fish can enter the UK seafood market unrestricted. Another vessel, documented fishing illegally by EJF in October 2011, has recently been fined US $90,000 by the Sierra Leonean Government.

Earlier in the year, EJF provided evidence that led European authorities to seize £4m worth of fish in the Spanish port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This catch has subsequently been released by Spanish authorities, allegedly in breach of European law.

EJF are continuing to work closely with the Sierra Leonean and Guinean Governments to bring legal proceedings against Kum Myeong 2 and to inform the vessel’s flag state of its activities.

Meanwhile, EJF are in close contact with European authorities to ensure the pirate fish does not enter the European seafood market.

“EJF’s work is continuing to show the importance of improved transparency if we are to end pirate fishing and secure the food security and livelihoods of coastal communities. Combating this devastating practice requires a truly integrated approach, involving coastal communities, governments and actors in the seafood supply chain.” Steve Trent, Executive Director of EJF