Flags of Convenience on the Senegalese Sea

With the earth consisting of 75% water, it is a difficult for activists such as Greenpeace to continually sheriff the safety of the oceans from illegal fishing conducted by global corporate fishing entities. Yet again though, Greenpeace has confronted another illegal fishing vessel, this time of the coast of Africa in the Senegalese Sea. Though global fishing practices are continually being regulated and fishing practice policies are demanded to be followed by governments. Somehow fishing corporations are always on the cutting edge of loopholes in regards to fishing regulations.

Greenpeace confronted the 120 meter long Russian, Lithuanian fishing vessel the “Irvinga” which was fishing under a “flag of convenience” which African authorities recognize. These “flags of convenience” are just one of the loopholes fishing vessels use to illegally fish in waters that they should not be in. A “flag of convenience” is a visible emblem on a commercial vessel that authorities recognize as an approved vessel to be allowed in specific waters. So let’s say I own an American fishing vessel and my fleet is allowed to fish in Pacific regions. I could use a Russian flag that would allow me to fish in Atlantic regions then switch to the American flag once the fleet is in Pacific regions and perhaps double up on fish to make a better profit.

The activists Greenpeace are always catching illegal vessels using these “flags of convenience” and demanding them to halt fishing and leave the waters. The problem is that many fishing vessels from numerous fishing industries are using “flags of convenience” and Greenpeace just doesn’t have enough recourses or man power to be sheriff-ing 75% of the globe. Though policies and regulations are in place to combat such loopholes there is little to no enforcement of these regulations such as seen in the Senegalese Sea. Perhaps the problem lies in the amount of awareness the general public has for the issue of “flags of convenience” and if a powerful marketing campaign can be established maybe then regulations will start to be followed.