The Captain of the Juventus told Greenpeace activists he had heard about
the recent agreement signed in Palau that will see Pacific island
countries close fishing access to this area of international waters.
Vast areas of the Pacific Commons will be closed to fishing starting
from the 15th of June. The Juventus was peacefully escorted into the
waters of Solomon Islands where the vessel had a license to fish after
the Captain agreed that he will not engage in any future fishing
activities in the Pacific Commons.
"We want commitment from DongWon, the Korean Government and all other
countries fishing in the area that the fishing closure will be
respected", said Lagi Toribau oceans campaigner on board Greenpeace ship
Scientists have been warning since 2001 that bigeye and yellowfin tuna
are suffering from overfishing. Countries fishing in the area have
blatantly ignored the warnings and increased the number of tuna fishing
ships – this includes pirate fishing. In addition, last year Taiwan,
Japan, Korea and mainland China all blocked moves for sustainable
fishing by Pacific island countries in the region.
"We need to ensure tuna for the future and we want the Korean Government
to support the designation of these areas as marine reserves at the West
and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. We also need to see Korea
urgently agreeing to reduce their tuna fishing vessels in the Pacific",
said Jung Choi of Korean environmental group KFEM on board the Esperanza.
Korea's DongWon Industries Co. Ltd, a significant global player in the
tuna industry. In 2006, Greenpeace together with Kiribati fisheries
inspectors boarded another DongWon owned vessel, DongWon 117, which fled
Kiribati waters after Greenpeace discovered discrepancies in its
documentation and reporting.
DongWon tuna vessel Olympus was the first boat Greenpeace took protest
action against during the current expedition to highlight the
overfishing of tuna in the Pacific. Greenpeace activists also closed
down the DongWon stall at the world's largest seafood fair in Brussels
during April due to their contribution to the overfishing of the world's
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza has been in the region for the last eight
weeks highlighting the overfishing of tuna. During the time at sea, the
activists have taken direct non-violent action against fishing fleets
from Taiwan, Korea, the US, the Philippines and Spain.