Gabonese minister takes part in patrol after terrifying footage of two humpback whales in a fishing net.
On August 4, a Sea Shepherd drone flew over a purse seine net laid out by a European fishing vessel around a school of tuna.
Terrifying images of two humpback whales were captured within the net trying to break free.
The drone was operated from Sea Shepherd’s ship BOB BARKER, which is currently patrolling Gabonese waters for the sixth year in a row.
As part of the partnership with the Gabonese authorities, fishing vessels with a fishing license are inspected in Gabon’s territorial waters to ensure compliance with the law.
When OPERATION ALBACORE – the campaign to end illegal, unregulated and undocumented fishing in Gabonese waters – began in 2015, fishery observers regularly reported of purse seine vessels using whales and whale sharks as live attractants.
The animals were deliberately enclosed with nets in order to catch the tuna that gathered around them.
As a result, the Gabonese government, led by Fisheries Minister Biendi Maganga-Moussavou, banned this practice.
Purse seiners have been required to open the nets immediately if there are whales or whale sharks in them – even if it means losing a tuna catch.
“Even if the two endangered humpback whales were ultimately released, every minute of added stress reduces the chances of survival after liberation,” said Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns.
In purse seine fishing, a large net is laid out in a ring around a school of fish.
Then the net is pulled together at the lower end and closed.
When Minister Maganga-Moussavou was shown the harrowing footage, he decided to join the Gabonese fisheries inspectors, environmental officers, marines and the Sea Shepherd crew on patrols on board the BOB BARKER for a few days (!!)
“I wanted to see the practices of the purse seine fleet with my own eyes.
At the same time, I wanted to send a clear message that illegal fishing activities in the waters of Gabon will not be tolerated.
I drove over 190 kilometers from Libreville to the maritime border with the neighboring country São Tomé and Príncipe to show that the Gabonese government monitors every square kilometer of its territorial waters and that OPERATION ALBACORE has my full support and that of the head of state Ali Bongo Ondimba “ said Minister Maganga-Moussavou
Minister Maganga-Moussavou has also decided to impose penalties on the ship that refused to open its nets.
Minister Biendi Maganga-Moussavou inspects the cargo from a purse seine ship.
“The publication of these shocking imagery, the punishment of the ship and my own participation in the patrol will have a deterrent effect on future illegal activities”, Minister Maganga-Moussavou said.
We thank the Minister Maganga-Moussavou ♥️
Perhaps we should send some of our unfit ministers 👉 to him for training.
My best regards to all, Venus