Last spring, vessels from these companies were arrested in the West African region during a joint patrol between Greenpeace and local fisheries inspectors. Evidence of various infringements including illegal nets, shark finning and fishing without licence were handed over by Greenpeace to West African and Chinese authorities and have now helped the Chinese Ministry in combating IUU carried out by Chinese distant water fishing vessels.
China is currently trying to restrict 2900 distant water fishing vessels' activities in their main fishing grounds. Since 2016, almost 90 million Euros in subsidies for 264 fishing vessels belonging to 78 Chinese distant water fishing companies have been cancelled by the Chinese government.
As a result three companies lost their certificates for distant water fishing, while 15 company owners and captains were blacklisted. Last year, China revised its Management Regulation on Distant Water Fishery and introduced stronger punishment measures against IUU.
Dr. Ibrahima Cisse, Greenpeace Africa Oceans Campaign Manager, stated:
African governments initiatives against IUU fishing would be more efficient if they were to establish a system for sharing information on illegal vessels operating in their waters. Also, African governments must share this information with the flag states of the vessels that are breaching regulations as well as the countries where the companies behind the vessels are situated.
Greenpeace also conducted joint patrols in Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone, but it did't find any information on infringements by Chinese vessels in this region. This makes it more difficult for flag states like China to act upon the infringements of their vessels.