Spain closes the net around pirate fishing

Oceana applauds Spain’s actions in opening a new era in the global fight against IUU fishing

14 countries cooperated with Interpol and Spain’s Guardia Civil to break up the group, whose profits amounted to 10 million euros a year

Oceana praises Spain for having broken up a group of internationally renowned fishing pirates that has been active worldwide for several years. Today, the Spanish Guardia Civil and Interpol officials have revealed the details of this exceptional operation, resulting in the arrest of six people and 16 others under investigation, for environmental crime and belonging to criminal organizations. The closure of the so-called ‘Operation Yuyus’ coincides with yesterday’s announcement by the Spanish Ministry of Fisheries to fine the network of companies that is linked to Vidal Armadores a total of 17.84 million euros.

“Spain’s actions are writing the history of how illegal fishing is going to be eradicated from the world’s oceans. Pirate fishing is not only an environmental crime, but it jeopardizes the livelihood of legal fishermen. We encourage world governements to use the law, join forces and follow this unprecedented example”. Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) is a major driver of the overexploitation of oceans. The Guardia Civil calculates that the group made profits of at least 10 million euros a year. The pirates targeted Patagonian toothfish, a lucrative species that is essential to the environmental balance of Antarctic waters and is the reason for which their actions are considered a crime against natural resources and the environment. International organizations and 14 countries joined forces for the investigation, that concluded with six people being arrested and eventually released on bail.