At-sea transhipments (transferring fish caught at sea by a fishing vessel to a transport vessel) is one of the biggest loopholes that allow fish that have been caught illegally to enter the seafood supply chain.
Even though certain regions have stricter regulations, transhipping violations are regularly documented regularly.
Transhipments also enable human rights violations forcing crew members to stay long periods of time without going ashore (often in vessels that don’t meet minimum labour or safety standards).
Trawlers (53%), longliners (21%) jiggers (13%) are vessels most commonly involved in sea transhipments – all of which operate in the SW Atlantic and Galapagos seas (longliners and jiggers most common on High Seas).
Reports have documented fishing vessels turning off their satellite positioning systems (AIS), just along the Argentine waters that may be related to transshipments, or to incursions into Argentine or Ecuador waters to fish illegally.
The Blue Hole is a global hotspot for transhipments. Along with limited controls on fishing activities and the no regulations, it is ripe for unreported catches and increased risk of modern slavery.
The Galapagos Islands hold a bounty of flora and fauna; 20% of the species found in the Galapagos aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Illegal fishing in the region is not new, but last August 2020, the number of illegal fishing vessels exploded. China is set to host the UN Conference on Biodiversity this year and holding the Chairmanship of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, it’s time to call them to regulate fishing fleet.