Sea Shepherd have shut down the world’s largest fishing vessel amid illegal over-fishing, with the ship in question under federal criminal investigation. The ship Damanzaihao is prohibited to leave the port where it is docked in Peru, following the Ministry of Environment filing a formal request to detain the vessel.

The ship was capable of killing 547,000 tonnes of fish each year and had been blacklisted after it was allegedly involved in illegal fishing. In a statement on the Sea Shepherd website, the charity said: “Over the past week, the Damanzaihao has twice requested permission to leave port in an obvious attempt to escape the tightening noose.

“On April 20, 2018, Sea Shepherd delivered a formal letter to the Peruvian Ministry of Production (the agency that issued the multi-million dollar fine) imploring the government to take additional steps to ensure the ship pay for its crimes.”

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) destroys marine habitats, puts honest fishers at a disadvantage, weakens coastal communities and depletes fish stocks.

The statement continues by saying: “Despite the Damanzaihao switching flag states from Peru to Belize while anchored in Peruvian waters, Peru is taking a strong stance in its efforts to bring the Damanzaihao to justice. Under the Peruvian Penal Code, successful conviction carries a penalty of three to five years of incarceration.”

Belize has previously been scrutinised by the European Commission and ‘red-carded’ for not tackling IUU. Although the ‘red card’ has been lifted, they still face pressure to stop the Damanzaihao from destroying ecosystems around the world.

“Sea Shepherd applauds Peru’s commitment to combating IUU fishing and continues to provide support to Peru to help bring an end to the rampant over-exploitation of the oceans.”

You can find out more about Sea Shepherd here.

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