This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
knows that ships are a favorite target of pirates. But another problem takes
place under the sea and often gets less attention: fish piracy. The technical
term is illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Among the most common acts are fishing
without permission and catching more than the limit. Other forms of fish piracy
are targeting and catching protected species and using outlawed equipment. Some
fishing nets, for example, trap whales. Another form of piracy is when species of
caught fish and catch weights go unreported or underreported.
Illegal fishing can harm local fisheries
and economies. It can also rob communities of an important food supply and
endanger future populations of some kinds of fish.
United Nations officials say representatives from more than sixty countries
have made progress on an international agreement to control fish piracy. Five
days of talks recently took place in Rome at the headquarters of the U.N. Food
and Agriculture Organization.
The F.A.O. says fish piracy is difficult
especially for developing countries to fight. Some countries lack good port
controls. Pirates can easily land and sell their illegal catch. The problem is
especially common along the west coast of Africa and in some ports in Asia and
officials say the general ideas for an international agreement or treaty are
now largely in place. Final details, though, still need to be settled.
negotiations involve what are known as port state measures. Under the proposed
agreement, fishing boats would be directed to a landing port specially equipped
for inspections. The crews would have to radio those ports from out at sea and request
permission to land. They would also have to provide information on their
activities and the fish they are carrying.
Doing this before arrival would give port officials
time to try to identify suspicious activities. Countries that agree to the
measures would share information. That way, port officials could deny entry to a
fishing boat that has committed offenses in others waters.
And that's the VOA Special English
Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. Now, an update to our report two
weeks ago on caterpillars eating crops in northern Liberia. The insects were
feared to be armyworms. But experts have now identified them as another species
that might be more easily contained. I'm Bob Doughty.