© Reuters. Seagrass is seen in the Indian Ocean above the largest sea meadow in the world at the Bank Saya de Malha
By Katharine Houreld
NAIROBI (Reuters) – The Green Peace Organization has discovered widespread illegal use of drifting species in the northwest Indian Ocean, which it claims is killing marine life in one of the the most ecologically vulnerable fishing grounds in the world.
During two weeks at sea, environmental organizations said they turned seven ships within 20 square miles (50 sq km) using driftnets to catch tuna. It detects eight other ships on the radar using navigation patterns which also suggest using the grid.
“If yellowfin tuna continues to decline at its current rate, food security in the region, as well as local economies, will be hit hard,” Greenpeace said.
Nicknamed the “wall of death” because of the number of other marine life they caught in addition to the fish they were placed on, the nets were banned by the United Nations 30 years ago.
Greenpeace shared footage with Reuters of sharks and rays that were killed in nets, set about 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of Somalia. “Due to fishing issues we are concerned about all species of fish in the Indian Ocean,” it said, adding that the same area has also seen a significant increase in fishing. Uncontrolled ink catches.
“What good is a United Nations ban on drift rock when all the fishing vessels we see are using drift rock?” Will McCallum, the head of Ocean Organization at the UK Green Peace Foundation, asked Will McCallum in comments to Reuters.
“There is little or no enforcement in international waters … We need a global ocean pact … to address this huge governance gap.”
The countries will meet in August to negotiate such a treaty, designed to try to establish protective measures for parts of the ocean similar to protected areas established on land instant.
Last month, representatives from 30 countries met to discuss how to save rapidly depleting tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean. The meeting ended without any new agreement.
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