Activism 2.0: On Campaign with The Black Fish (Part 1)

Editors Notes: Activism 2.0 is a series on the emerging tactics, trends and technology that is redefining environmental activism. In this week’s instalment Emily joins The Black Fish in an undercover campaign. 


I’ve just arrived in Europe at an undisclosed location joining The Black Fish Crew in an activist house on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The crew has already been here for 2 weeks doing an undercover investigation of illegal driftnetting that is abundant. Driftnetting kills an estimated 10,000 cetaceans each year in the Mediterranean alone – that’s more than all whale and dolphin hunts in the world…

It’s an ambitious campaign to track and document driftnetting in a convert way, making our location and identities unknown. At night they inspect ports doing stake outs to gather evidence of the location of driftnetting operations. By day, they go at sea with small high-speed boats to check vessels for any sign of the illegal nets.

Few organization do this kind of work and the crew is quite young, in their 20’s to early 30’s. But driftnetting is a crisis in of itself that needs to see its final days soon or we could loose a biodiversity hotspot and a great lose of marine species in the world’s oceans.

Wietse van Der Werf, the founder of the Black Fish explains:

“Illegal overfishing is emptying our seas with a frightening efficiency. Commercially caught species are under increased threat and we are losing known species faster than we can discover new ones. We are letting a small minority of people destroy our common heritage to make a quick few bucks. What we are faced with is losing the world’s fish, destroying vital eco-systems and endangering the largest life support system on this planet.”

It’s inspiring to see such committed and passionate next generation activists taking the kind of risks involved to end the slaughter of our oceans. I’ll continue to stay here a week with them to document the beginning of their campaign.

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