December 4th, 2018

On July 4, 2018, the world’s largest factory vessel, the Damanzaihao, left Peru following a month-long detention.In spite of local prosecutors’ valiant efforts to keep the Damanzaihao in port pending a criminal investigation of illegal fishing, a Peruvian court determined that further detention was unwarranted.

The court reached this conclusion notwithstanding the fact that the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation blacklisted this vessel for fishing illegally while registered to Peru – and also despite the fact that the then-owner (the ironically named “Sustainable Fishing Resources”) still owes a massive fine to the Peruvian government.Around the world, the marine conversation community cried out in frustration: How could this ship be allowed back on the seas?

For those still fuming over this series of events, we have some good news to share: Peru’s environmental prosecutors have not given up. Just last month, the prosecutor’s office announced that it is proceeding with a criminal investigation targeting Sustainable Fishing Resources.What’s more, a local court has approved this action, rejecting the company’s argument that further investigation is inappropriate.While the departure of the Damanzaihao is still frustrating, a criminal conviction of Sustainable Fishing Resources would send an important message to fishing firms in Peru.We will be following this case closely – and we will be rooting for justice along the way.

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