With Beyond the Horizon, our aim was to highlight the threads linking human rights abuses on the high seas with the wider environmental context. Around 90 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are either fully or over-exploited (UNFAO), so the pressure to stay out longer and fish further and deeper means that many industrial fishing vessels can act with impunity, outside national jurisdiction and free from regulation and oversight. The backdrop to much of the slavery, kidnapping and murder which Ian described is an unfolding ecological disaster.
Mirella stressed the importance of developing a governance and regulatory framework for the high and deep seas to counter the loss of biodiversity and fragile ecosystems in the high and deep seas. Listening to stories like Ian’s make this all the more vital – if the ocean beyond national jurisdiction remains a lawless, unprotected free-for-all, the human rights abuses will continue and get worse.