Thursday, November 11, 2010

Exposing the High Seas Black Marketeers

When you're a fish that can bring as much as $100,000 delivered to the market, your days are numbered.   That, of course, would be the eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna.  It's a monstrous beast that can live for 40-years and weigh as much as 500 kilograms.  It fetches top dollar in Japan where consumers account for 80 per cent of all bluefin consumed.   When they're willing to part with a hundred grand for a single fish, you can be sure they'll keep arriving.

The Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium of Journalists has just released a report, The Black Market in Bluefin.   The report is the result of a 7-month project looking into the black marketeers who are pillaging the endangered species and the government officials who look the other way.

 "Led by the French, Spanish, and Italians, joined by Turks and others, Mediterranean fishermen violated official quotas at will and engaged in an array of illegal practices: misreporting catch size, hiring banned spotter planes, catching undersized fish, and plundering tuna from North African waters where EU inspectors are refused entry. An illicit market even arose in trading quotas — when regulators finally started enforcing the rules — in which one vessel sells its nation’s quota to a foreign vessel that had overfished."

The report that exposes the corruption that surrounds the pirate fishermen and the officials who collude with them to empty the seas of the bluefin.

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