Winner, Advocacy Category (tied with: Ayumu Katano)
The Environmental Justice Foundation’s Oceans Campaign is committed to eradicating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU), or ‘pirate’ fishing, to encourage full transparency and traceability within seafood supply chains and markets and to advocate for better marine governance. By depleting fish stocks, pirate fishing is a threat to marine ecosystems and environments and severely compromises the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable coastal communities.
Since 2010, EJF has implemented a community surveillance project in Sierra Leone, and evidence from an EJF information-gathering and sharing project across all West Africa to monitor vessel activities has resulted in the arrest and sanctioning of illegal vessels. At the EU level, EJF works to support the full implementation of the EU IUU Regulation aiming to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. In 2014, EJF’s investigation in Thailand revealed the continuing brutal trade in modern-day slaves. Thailand’s seafood exports are the third most valuable in the world, supplying markets in the US, Europe and Asia but far from the attention of consumers vulnerable migrants in search of a better future are being trafficked, exploited, abused and even murdered aboard Thai fishing vessels.
EJF’s Oceans advocacy work has also raised considerable awareness amongst retailers, importers and restaurants of the dangers posed by IUU fishing. Collectively, EJF’s work in the field and on a global level is reducing the demand for illegal fish, helping port States keep illegal fish out of their country and enabling coastal and flag States to sanction boats that violate fisheries laws and regulations.
About Environmental Justice Foundation
EJF believes that environmental security is a human right. Our international campaigns tackle grassroots issues that are ‘off the radar’, working in remote and difficult locations and in post-conflict areas where environmental issues and associated human rights problems are neglected.
EJF’s team investigates global supply chains, documents the issues and creates compelling international campaigns that target opinion formers and decision makers around the globe. EJF provides film and advocacy training to local organizations and activists in the global south, enabling them to document, expose and create long term solutions to environmental problems and generate local support.
“Illegal fishing is a widespread global problem and particularly prevalent in West Africa. It devastates vital ecosystems, ruins livelihoods, undermines food security and is associated with human trafficking and other labour abuses. EJF works with communities in West Africa and partners across the world to promote sustainable fishing practices and to ensure that national and international measures to combat illegal fishing are developed, ratified and strictly enforced.”
—Steve Trent, Executive Director of the Environmental Justice Foundation