Group warns of 'trans-shipping' dangers in Pacific

An environmental group dedicated to ocean conservation is warning Pacific nations to be alert to the dangers of what's called trans-shipping, which it says can be used to mask illegal fishing activity.

Trans-shipping means fishing boats can stay at sea for an extended period of time, in some cases more than a year, by transferring their stock to another boat and receiving fuel and supplies.

The US-based group, Oceana, said that practice could often involve the laundering of fish, human rights abuses, and labour violations.

Its senior campaign director, Beth Lowell, said trans-shipping was a huge problem around the world and it was also likely to be happening in the Pacific due to its large tuna fisheries.

"There is definitely some suspicious areas of trans-shipment in the central west Pacific area which needs some further investigation to see what's happening. Is it legal? Is it hiding legal activity?"

Mr Lowell said trans-shipping needed to be banned and fishing vessels need to be tracked and monitored.


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