In September 2018 ten people from four different European countries met on the beautiful island of Sicily. They were on a mission: to documented and expose illegal fishing activities all over the island, focusing on the catch of undersized swordfish.
In September this year a small team of The Black Fish is heading to Sicily to document and expose the illegal catch of juvenile swordfish. Swordfish are large ocean predators and extremely important for the ecological balance of the ocean. Over the last decades the population of swordfish in the Mediterranean has been decreasing by nearly 70%, due to overfishing and the illegal catch of juveniles.
My name is Florian Schalinski and I’m a media designer and illustrator. Since 2015 I’ve been living on the island of Borkum in the German North Sea and have been witnessing what is happening to our oceans every day.
On the 3rd of May The Black Fish took part in an event in Bremen to highlight the Fish Dependence Day 2018, which falls on the 4th of May in Germany. During this public event fisheries scientists, policy experts and NGO experts from 8 different institutes and organization discussed the future of fisheries in the EU.
Teresa, a young fisheries observer, disappears ominously from a Spanish fishing vessel. Ragna and her group of radical activists are applying doubtful methods to save the oceans from collapse, while cases of fish poisonings are increasing all over Europe.
Last weekend, a team of Citizen Inspectors travelled to the German coast of the Baltic Sea including the island of Rügen. The most important fishing ports were visited and monitored in order to prepare for future campaigns and investigations.
In January 2018 The Black Fish joined a collective of international NGOs calling for urgent and swift changes to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification standard and to address the flaws in the certification standard that allow fisheries with widely unacceptable impacts to be certified.
On Tuesday 16th of January the European Parliament adopted a full and definitive ban on electric fishing in Europe. This victory is a collective success of the French organisation BLOOM and all the artisanal fishers and NGOs like The Black Fish, Our Fish and the Blue Marine Foundation, who worked night and day for weeks to get this result.
The Black Fish Germany published the catalogue „The plunder of the sea – facts and demands“, which is raising the most important demands on policy makers for a positive change in European ocean politics.
Sicilian sun, inspiring people and delicious food. This is all I’m thinking of while staring out of the lab window. It’s grey and rainy in Bremen and I’m waiting for my samples to defrost. “What the hell am I doing here?“ I can’t stop asking myself this question while my thoughts return to Sicily again. It has been a week since I came back home to daily life from my first investigation as a Citizen Inspector.
My name is Libby and I’ve just spent an exhilarating 10 days in Southern Italy working as an undercover investigator for The Black Fish’s Citizen Inspector Network (CIN). The mission was to inspect fishing ports and vessels for the illegal use of Fish Aggregated Devices or FADsunder the guise of ‘la tourista’.
The Black Fish has launched a series of civilian night patrols around the English coast to track shellfish poaching. Shellfish poaching is a multi-million dollar black market trade, threatening shellfish populations, exploiting migrant workers and fuelling organised crime.
They look small and harmless but Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) are the hidden killers of ocean life, catching large numbers of juvenile (baby) fish, causing bycatch and entangling other wildlife such as turtles and sharks. The Black Fish has now launched a new investigative campaign in the Mediterranean to pinpoint who is deploying the illegal devices and confiscating as many of them at sea as fuel budgets allow.
Italy’s deadly driftnets are back. The illegal use of the destructive nets, thought to have ended on a larger scale thanks to recent measures taken by the EU and Italy, has again been exposed with fresh evidence emerging of their deployment.
Over the last three months The Black Fish’s Citizen Inspectors have assisted enforcement officials in Southern Italy with surveillance to seek out illegal trade in juvenile anchovy, which are heavily overfished in the Mediterranean region.
This week a lobster fishery operating off the west coast of Sweden was granted a sustainable fishing label through the Marine Stewardship Council. However, only four months ago Citizen Inspectors of The Black Fish observed illegal fishing activities in the exact same fishery.
As of today, The Black Fish and the Italian Coastguard will combine resources and share intelligence to combat illegal fishing practices in the Mediterranean Sea. An historic agreement, which was signed at a ceremony in Messina, Sicily, will enable the two organisations to work in direct partnership to combat illegal fishing practices.
The Black Fish recently partnered with UK based Fin Fighters to investigate illegal shark fishing and finning in Morocco. Combining Fin Fighters’ scientific expertise on sharks and The Black Fish’s Citizen Inspector Network has laid the foundation for a powerful new collaboration in marine conservation. Fin Fighter Lou Ruddell writes about her experiences working with The Black Fish on the ground in Morocco.
Over the last two months crew members of The Black Fish have inspected fishing ports around the Mediterranean Sea in an effort to uncover illegal driftnet fishing. After initial work in the Italian regions of Calabria and Sicily, The Black Fish expanded its work along the coasts of Albania and Tunisia.
Losing Nemo, the new animation film about industrial overfishing made by a 30+ strong international team of animators, premiered in Amsterdam yesterday. The Movies cinema hosted the event, with a mix of film makers, crew of The Black Fish, supporters and campaigners in attendance. You can view the full film here.