China, Japan block Antarctic fishing regulations as rorts continue

The Age
3 December 2014

Despite attempts to crack down on illegal Antarctic fishing, a report has found that there is still rorting and a refusal to tighten rules in the chase for high-priced fish.

Korean authorities found a fleet of three ships fabricated catch documents and ship tracks, apparently with Russian help, the preliminary report of the 25-member Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) shows.

At a meeting of the CCAMLR in Hobart, China has blocked attempts to impose an official observer watch on the krill fishery, which is growing at such a pace one hotspot had to be shut down midseason.

The renewed attention to illegal fishing comes as hardline activists of Sea Shepherd turn their attention to Antarctic fisheries, departing from the Tasmanian capital on Wednesday to hunt for illegal fishers while Japanese whalers rest their harpoons this summer.

“Instead of a whale, we have an ugly client this time, in the toothfish,” said Peter Hammarstedt, captain of Sea Shepherd’s ship the Bob Barker. “But we are going after fully blacklisted illegal fishing boats who think their risk of detection is minimal.”

The price of toothfish, a deep-water polar denizen, on global markets continues to soar, with legally caught and sustainably certified toothfish advertised in Australia for $64 per kilogram wholesale.

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