Santiago, February 9, 2015. The international marine conservation organization, Oceana, positively valued that the latest meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO), held in Oakland, New Zealand, included the factory vessel Pacific Andes, commonly known as Lafayette, in the list of fishing vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) operations. Lafayette will be banned from fishing while it remains on that list.
“Lafayette is a flagship of ocean depredation at the global level. The fact that its operations are now subject to an effective ban is a great step forward. We must continue strengthening organizations like the SPRFMO to guarantee the sustainability of cross-border fishing resources”, stated Alex Muñoz, Executive Director with Oceana.
The company Pacific Andes International Holding built this ship in 2008 with an investment of over US$1 billion, transforming an old oil tanker into the world’s largest fishing vessel. This now Peruvian-flagged vessel –which has changed flags on many occasions to elude enforcement– operates as a mother ship that transports the catches of other trawlers it carries inside. Subsequently, it classifies the catch, processes and freezes fish on board, and takes the product to different markets. Lafayette is considered a threat to marine habitat conservation since –as evidenced during the SPRFMO meeting– it has been constantly engaged in IUU fishing. Experts have estimated that if this vessel operated on a daily basis, it would have the technical capacity to process 547,000 tons of fish every year.
For the first time since it was created in 2006, the SPRFMO drafted a list of IUU vessels. In this report, in addition to Lafayette, the Russian-flagged Aurora was included. Both vessels, as stated by the technical organization, will remain in the list until monetary sanctions are materialized, which should be enforced by the states of Russia and Peru.
In the meeting, which also discussed the fishing of horse mackerel, Oceana took part submitting several studies and issued warnings about the status of mackerel’s stocks. The SPRFMO finally increased the international quota for this resource from 440,000 tons to 460,000 tons, facing early recovery evidence.