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Ian UrbinaACUNS member and New York Times reporter Ian Urbina has published an investigative series on lawlessness on the high seas, “The Outlaw Ocean” as well as other articles on the use of migrant labour in the fishing industry. Recently there have been developments of note connecting to “The Outlaw Ocean” which Urbina has kindly shared with us here at ACUNS.



As Urbina notes, “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently offered a bit more insight on his hopes and plans for improving policing at sea. He gave this input in a couple of interviews with the Times.” Kerry also addressed the sea slaves story the Our Ocean conference in Chile (see video). “But more importantly [says Urbina] he ended by saying that he intends to make the topic a focus of next year’s conference.”

Furthermore, “the Senate caucus on human trafficking held a fascinating panel on the role the U.S. government might play through marketplace leverage. [see video]  Two ideas discussed: stricter traceability rules on seafood imported to the U.S., and raising the bar on transparency and labor standards for the more than $300 million worth of seafood bought by U.S. agencies.”

Finally, “a court in São Tomé and Príncipe convicted the three officers of the Thunder…this was the pirate fishing ship that topped Interpol’s Most Wanted list and that Sea Shepherd chased hither and yon.” As Urbina notes, this is a “pretty unusual ending to this type of story, since so few of these notorious scofflaws ever get caught or prosecuted. Even more intriguing though is that some of the documents seized on The Thunder are now being used by Spain and other countries to target the criminal syndicates tied to illegal fishing on the high seas. ”

ACUNS will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Feature Image: New York Times Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images