Bearing witness in the High Seas: Voices of Pacific Activists
10 September 2009
It was an eventful and activity-filled week (daily FAD and illegal fishing boat watches!) of sailing in the Pacific. I had imagined that patrolling these waters and finding something would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. After all, the Pacific is the biggest Ocean in the world!
But I was proved wrong.
We found FADs aplenty, seriously ´fish aggregating´ their way along the length of high seas area 1 despite the current ban on their use. And don´t forget the transshipment of tuna in the same vicinity by Her Hae and Jia Yu Fa (of the broken freezer at sea fame). These are but two evidences, amongst a long line of continued illegal fishing activities in the Pacific, of the perils to the survival and sustainability of tuna stocks in these waters. These unregulated and illegal fishing practices only reinforce the need to close off all pockets of international waters in the Pacific to all fishing and declare them as Marine Reserves to protect tuna stocks from collapse.
Our campaign for clean and healthy oceans does not only concern marine life but also the people who depend on these resources for food and income: the Pacific Nations. Thus, with us on-board are six activists from various Pacific countries. Although they all come from diverse backgrounds and different fields of expertise, ranging from engineering to accounting, they are united by one common cause: to bear witness and expose illegal and destructive fishing methods by distant water fishing nations, and push the world into action before it’s too late.
Today we introduce you to twenty-five year old Josefa Nasegui, from the island of Kadavu, Fiji. Two months ago he joined the Esperanza as one of our Pacific activists on board. Back home, he works as an electrical engineer. So for Jo, working as a volunteer deckhand at the moment has been a whole new experience. Being part of this campaign is especially important for Josefa.
“Saving the tuna of the Pacific means a lot to me. Not only is it one of our favorite dish, but also because we depend on it. If we don´t stop the foreign fishing vessels from overfishing in our waters, there will be no more fish by then for future generations. We will suffer.”
He has also been involved in protecting marine reserves for 3 years now, coordinating closely with the Fisheries Department of Fiji. And through this he has come to know the advantages and importance of having and protecting marine reserves.
In his spare time, Jo plays rugby, pool and cricket…and like most Pacific islanders, likes to go fishing!