This document summarises French observations of illegal fishing for the past year.
The geographical area covered in this report comprises Statistical Subarea 58.6 and Divisions 58.5.1 and 58.5.2 (which include the Crozet, Kerguelen and Heard and McDonald EEZs), Statistical Divisions 58.4.3, 58.4.4, (BANZARE, Elan, Lena and Ob Banks) and Subarea 58.4.1. Vessels on the CCAMLR black list observed outside the Convention Area this season are also mentioned.
The fish stocks in the Kerguelen and Crozet EEZs are now protected, as shown in the report of the POKER 2 fisheries research survey (2010). Although IUU removals in the Crozet and Kerguelen EEZ are close to zero, IUU fishing persists in the CCAMLR Area in international waters. In the area covered in this document, IUU activities have remained at a similar level to 2011.
The selling price for toothfish has reached record highs this season, further increasing the incentive to conduct IUU fishing, so several times a year IUU activities lasting from one to five weeks are observed on the edges of the continental shelves outside the French EEZs. This season, the IUU fleet has again focused on BANZARE and Elan Banks (Statistical Division 58.4.3) as well as on the more scattered seamounts (Ob and Lena), and sometimes at the boundaries of the Crozet, Kerguelen and Heard EEZs (Lameyne Ridge, Gallienni Spur, Williams Seamount and Del Cano Rise). IUU activities targeting Antarctic toothfish have been observed in areas over the seamounts along the edge of the continent or at the limit of the ice, accessible in summer. The IUU vessels observed all use gillnets.
It is becoming more and more difficult to obtain information about the identities of vessel masters and fishing masters or the nationalities of the crews of the vessels observed. It may well be that the crewmen who are the least cooperative during questioning are those which are made up of nationals of CCAMLR Member States. On the high seas, it has been observed that the presence of surveillance vessels showing the CCAMLR insignia has not been sufficient to discourage IUU vessels from continuing their activities.