Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter has supported calls for the Nigerian government to remove what it calls the “known toothfish poaching boat”, the Thunder, from its vessel registry. Ocean conservation group Sea Shepherd intercepted the Nigerian-flagged fishing vessel just outside Australian-claimed Antarctic waters last week, far to the south-west of the mainland.
Sea Shepherd claims the Thunder was illegally fishing at the time of the interception and had been pulling toothfish out of Australian waters.
The Thunder has had a purple notice issued against it by Interpol, for continued actions that undermine the sustainable management of toothfish fisheries in Antarctic waters. This notice calls for responsible governments to avoid assistance to the boat and operators, including not providing licenses to fish for toothfish.
Austral Fisheries has been at the forefront of work to eliminate Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing for toothfish over the past 18 years, and it was pleasing to see Sea Shepherd joining the effort, said Carter.
He called on the Australian government to pursue all diplomatic efforts to ask Nigerian authorities to remove the Thunder from their shipping registry, and to cancel any licenses that had been issued to the known poaching vessel.
The Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO) also expressed its gratitude to Sea Shepherd for acting against the Thunder.
“Of the remaining seven IUU vessels that operated up until February 2014, the reefer vessel, ‘Tiantai’ sank in Antarctic waters in March 2014; the ‘Perlon’ is in port in Indonesia; the ‘Lana’ and ‘Viking’ have not been sighted for some time; and the three IUU fishing vessels that were recently known to be in port in Thailand, the ‘Chang Bai’, ‘Chengdu’ and ‘Nihewan’ have now changed their names to ‘Taishan’, ‘Jianfeng’ and ‘Yunnan’ respectively, and appear to be heading South towards the CCAMLR area,” it noted.