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Greenpeace activists hang a banner on the vessel Lung Yuin. (Photo: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)

Greenpeace activist arrested for protesting against tuna vessel

Click on the flag for more information about Taiwan TAIWAN
Thursday, January 27, 2011, 04:00 (GMT + 9)

A number of Greenpeace activists quarreled with police this week while working to block a freight boat leaving a port in Taiwan to fish for tuna in the Pacific Ocean. One protester was arrested.

The demonstrators chained themselves to the anchor cable of the vessel Lung Yuin and held a banner reading, “The Last Tuna?” This was the green organisation’s first protest in Taiwan.

Activist Sari Tolvanen explained that the effort comprises part of a campaign to focus international attention on the overfishing of bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks, which Greenpeace argues are being depleted and therefore should not be harvested, ABC Radio Australia reports.

Thai citizen Tipsuda Atichakaro was arrested for having climbed onto the anchor cable, taking turns with another activist in a three-hour confrontation with police forces. She alone was arrested on charges of endangering public safety, reports AFP.

"She will be transferred to prosecutors," said an officer of the Kaohsiung harbour police.

Weighing 3,431 tonnes and registered in Panama, Lung Yuin is a refrigerated ship that stores and carries tuna ensnared by Taiwanese trawlers, reports Deutsche Press-Agentur.

It has "a history of involvement in illegal fishing operations," Greenpeace said wrote.

Messages questioning the legality of the blacklisted vessel were projected onto the hull of the Lung Yuin from the Rainbow Warrior. (Photo:Greenpeace/ Paul Hilton )

"Reefers like the Lung Yuin facilitate the large-scale tuna plunder of the Pacific region," said Kao Yu-fen, a Greenpeace East Asia Oceans campaigner. "It should not be allowed to use Taiwanese ports unless it can at least comply to simple requirements that it register its operations with Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency (FA)."

Greenpeace says that 276 of the 384 Taiwanese trawlers fly foreign flags and are not registered with Taiwan's FA, such that their fishing is illegal in the Pacific Ocean. The organisation is demanding that Taiwan investigate Lung Yuin’s “illegal practices.” 

But shipowner Wang Shung-lung responded that the vessel was indeed registered with international groups such as the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which supervises tuna resources in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Greenpeace activists held a protest in front of Taiwan's Fisheries Agency calling for better monitoring of Taiwanese-owned vessels for the effective management of tuna stocks. (Photo: Paul Hilton/Greenpeace)

"I respect their appeal calling for preserving marine reserves. Would that be good to me if the fish resources became depleted?" he asked.

“But they shouldn't take such irrational action. It isn't helpful for their cause at all," Shung-lung added.

The FA defended Shung-lung by saying the boat had not violated the law.

Most tuna caught by the Taiwanese are then sold to Japan to be consumed as sashimi or sushi. 

Related article:

- Greenpeace: Taiwan 'can’t control its fishing industry' 

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com

 

Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  Greenpeace International - The Netherlands | Headquarters
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