Sea Shepherd Announces New Covert Operation with Tanzania, Arrest of Three Fishing Vessels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 5, 2018

After completing a covert 20-day patrol resulting in the arrest of three vessels for fisheries crimes, the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Ocean Warrior has arrived in Dar es Salaam to officially launch Operation Jodari, a campaign in partnership with the government of the United Republic of Tanzania to tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in the Western Indian Ocean region.

For the past three weeks, law enforcement agents with the Deep Sea Fishing Authority, Tanzanian Navy and the Multi-Agency Task Team (MATT) have been secretly stationed on board Sea Shepherd’s ship, the M/Y Ocean Warrior, working alongside Captain Adam Meyerson and Sea Shepherd crew to patrol Tanzania's sovereign waters. The law enforcement agents have the authority to board, inspect and arrest vessels in violation of Tanzanian law. The MATT is led by the Tanzania Police Force and includes the Tanzania Forest Services, the Wildlife Division, Fisheries Division and the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service. It was formed to target individuals and networks that control environmental crime in the region and the illegal trade in wildlife.

Operation Jodari seeks to control all vessel operations in the waters of Tanzania, boarding those suspected of IUU, as well as training Tanzanian officers in monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of fishing activity in Tanzanian waters, including fishing vessel inspections and boarding procedures.

On the first patrol of Operation Jodari, nine boardings and inspections were carried out, resulting in three arrests:

  1. The Chinese-flagged F/V Tai Hong 1 was discovered to be carrying a cargo of shark fins that far exceed the 50 carcasses on board. Under Tanzanian law, the number of shark fins must correspond to the number of trunks (bodies). The twelve Tanzanian fishermen working on board, had been refused water and food by the captain, and shared a small unventilated accommodation space with only beds for two of the twelve, leaving the rest to sleep on the floor on top of one another.
  2. The Malaysian-flagged F/V Buah Naga 1 was discovered to be carrying a cargo of shark fins. Carcasses had been discarded overboard. An unlicensed firearm, a 9mm Beretta pistol, was found in the captain’s cabin. The Indonesian fishing crew informed Tanzanian authorities that the captain would regularly threaten them with the pistol to work. If no fish were caught, then the Indonesian crew would not be fed.
  3. The Tanzanian-flagged F/V Swabir Jamil was discovered fishing in the Tanzania Territorial Sea without a license. The vessel was carrying shark fins.

The F/V Tai Hong 1, F/V Buah Naga 1 and F/V Swabir Jamil were escorted to Tanzanian ports for legal action on the grounds of shark-finning and labor abuses.

“Labor abuses are rife in the high seas fishing industry, with crew forced to work long hours, for little or no pay, and sometimes under the threat of violence. Tanzania is leading the way by investigating these fishing vessels, not just for their fisheries crimes, but also for the convergence crimes, such as labor abuses, that make illegal fishing possible,” said Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns.

It is estimated that between 11 and 26 million tons of fish are caught globally through IUU fishing every year.  Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and approximately USD $1 billion is lost to IUU fishing in the Western Indian Ocean region annually.

Operation Joadari is supported by Fish-i Africa, a partnership of eight East African countries including Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Somalia, that fosters information-sharing and regional cooperation to combat large-scale illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean.

Operation Jodari is the fourth partnership between Sea Shepherd and African coastal states with the political will to stop IUU fishing.

Since February 2017, under the name Operation Sola Stella, Sea Shepherd has been assisting the government of Liberia to tackle IUU fishing by providing the use of a civilian offshore patrol vessel operating in Liberian waters, under the direction of the Liberian Ministry of National Defense. Operation Sola Stella has resulted in the arrest of ten vessels for IUU fishing. 

In 2016 and 2017 Sea Shepherd partnered with the governments of Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe for Operation Albacore, resulting in over 80 fishing vessel inspections at sea and the subsequent arrest of five IUU Congolese fishing trawlers and one Spanish long-liner. Operation Jodari is a continuation of Sea Shepherd’s commitment to work actively with national governments and their law enforcement agents in the fight against IUU fishing.

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Hi-Res Images and video: https://minerva.seashepherdglobal.org/share.cgi?ssid=0fQHrDl

Photo captions (credit Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd):

1: Group shot with Tanzanian marines, MATT and Sea Shepherd crew. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

2: Group shot of the Tanzanian marines. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

3: Marines controlling crew on Buah Naga 1. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

4: Small boat inspecting the hull of the Tai Hong 1. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

5: Sea Shepherd’s small boat and Ocean Warrior. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

6: Crew with the shark fins that were found in the freezer hold on the Tai Hong I. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

7: Living conditions onboard the Tai Hong I: 12 Tanzanian crew shared this small unventilated room. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

8: Captain of Buah Naga 1, DSFA, and Tanzanian Immigration Officer. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

9: Weapon found in the captain’s cabin of the Buah Naga 1 by Tanzania Police Inspector. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

10: Inspection crew on the Buah Naga 1. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

11: Captain of the Buah Naga 1 and Tanzanian Police Inspector discussing arrest. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

12: Buah Naga 1 at dock getting inspected in Mtwara, Tanzania. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

13: Tanzanian marines instructing crew to gather at bow of Buah Naga 1 prior to boarding. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.

For further information, additional images and interview requests, contact:
Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global Media Director
E-mail: media@seashepherdglobal.org
Tel: +339 7719 7742

Sea Shepherd Global

Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit marine conservation movement using innovative tactics and direct action to defend, conserve and protect the worlds oceans and marine wildlife. Founded by Paul Watson in 1977, today Sea Shepherd is a worldwide movement with independent national and regional entities in over 20 countries. With the exception of the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), they are united by a common mission through Sea Shepherd Global, based in Amsterdam, which coordinates communications, logistics and a fleet of five ships to cooperate on campaigns around the world. Sea Shepherd investigates and documents violations of international and national conservation law, and enforces conservation measures where legal authority exists. For more information, visit: http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/

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About Us

SEA SHEPHERD GLOBAL Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. A selection of press images are available on our Media Site (high-res images and a videos without watermarks available to qualified press on request): http://media.seashepherdglobal.org/