Oceana | Protecting the World's Oceans

Tell Obama to Act against Illegal Drift Gillnets in Morocco

After going undercover to investigate, Oceana has uncovered deception in Morocco. Illegal drift gillnet fishing is still taking place in the country, despite an official phase-out of the practice in 2010.

Drift gillnet fishing has been banned since 1992 by United Nations General Assembly, and since 2003 by ICCAT. In 2010, Morocco still used this destructive gear but strong international pressure led to a phase-out one year later. It is now clear that vessels have resumed illegal fishing right in front of Moroccan authorities.

We need real action from authorities at all levels to stop illegal driftnetting now.

The U.S. and EU once stepped in to financially aid the phase-out of drift gillnets in Morocco. To stop this illegal practice for good, their leadership must take action once more.

Tell President Obama to help enforce the ban on drift gillnets, to end the illegal practice in Morocco for good.

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    Dear President Obama,

    Driftnets have been responsible for the largest proportion of cetacean and sea turtle bycatch. In the Mediterranean alone, the nets used to cause the deaths of 100,000 cetaceans annually.

    Today, after more than 10 years of strong campaigning and the setup of ad hoc international official bans, illegal driftnet fishing has been reduced to sporadic cases: this is the case for Morocco, where Oceana has recently gathered evidence of small fishing vessels reverting to the use of illegal driftnets.

    If Morocco continues to get away with illegal fishing practices, this could send a message to other illegal fisherman that they can get away with using this illegal gear too.

    The U.S. should make use of its powerful legal instruments to allow this practice to be treated legally and economically for what it is: illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.