Photographer Simon Ager is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. These images are from his project ‘Operation Albacore‘. To see Simon’s body of work click on any image.
In 2016 the Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, arrived in the Republic of Gabon for the commencement of Operation Albacore, a new campaign to tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, under the direction of the Government of Gabon.
Throughout the 2016 tuna fishing season, Gabonese marines (Marine Nationale) and officers with the Fisheries Enforcement Agency (ANPA) were stationed on-board the Bob Barker, working alongside Sea Shepherd crew to patrol Gabon’s sovereign waters. These patrols provided a vehicle for law enforcement to defend, conserve and protect critical tuna habitat in Central West Africa from April through to September 2016.
The campaign aims were to expand existing monitoring, control and surveillance measures; to detect and deter IUU fishing activity while also monitoring legal compliance by licensed fishing operators.
Of the global catch of fish, 15-40% is estimated to be caught by IUU operators, and 90% is caught in waters that fall under the authority of a Coastal State. It is the complicated systems of trans- boundaries in the Gulf of Guinea, coupled with the fact that many regional Coastal States lack adequate operational resources, why illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing is so prevalent and prevails in waters off Africa’s west coast.
With all species of tuna either endangered or critically endangered, Bluefin, highly prized by sushi lovers, runs the very risk of going extinct. Tuna are apex predators keeping a check on other species maintaining a healthy balance in the world’s oceans.
Long liners and purse seiners are truly unethical methods of catching fish with the massive decimation of not only the target species but also non target species or by-catch.
The current global fishing practices and quotas for all species are unsustainable. The world’s oceans are in severe trouble, reaching a critical tipping point in the next 20 to 30 years; our own survival depends on this fragile eco-system. Anyone with a moral conscience should consider removing fish from their diet, for if the oceans die, we die!