our achievements

A chronicle of the activities and achievements of The Black Fish since its founding in 2010.

2015

November – Chosen as one of the conservation partners of Project 0, The Black Fish presents its work at Project 0’s major benefit event in London, dubbed Wave Makers Concert. Rocks legends Ronnie Wood, Mick Taylor, Doug Wimbish and Leah Wood joined Bernard Fowler and an impressive line up of bands including The Strypes, Hidden Charms and Will Heard, as well as a host of celebrities to raise awareness and funds for ocean action. Read more…

August – In cooperation with the Wildlife Air Service, The Black Fish runs an investigation along the North West coast of England in search of shellfish poachers. While the initial inspections yield limited results, the cooperative field work demonstrates the potential of deploying monitoring platforms in combined land and air operations. The Black Fish has vowed to return to England to dig deeper into the shellfish issue. Read more…

July – The Black Fish launches a new campaign to target an estimated 3,000 illegal Fish Aggregating Devices deployed in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, just off the Aeolian Islands. Initial field investigations carried out by Citizen Inspectors uncover unique evidence of the manufacture of the illegal devices and the ships which are deploying them. Read more…

July – Citizen Inspectors of The Black Fish carry out over 50 port inspections across the North coast of Sicily and collect evidence which points to a major loophole in EU law which is enabling large-scale illegal driftnets to return to European seas. In unearthing the loophole The Black Fish exposes serious shortcomings in the EU’s driftnet regulations and presents its evidence to the European Commission, European Fisheries Control Agency and NOAA. Read more…

June – The Black Fish launches the #OceanCrowd, the first dedicated crowdfunding platform for ocean conservation, enabling anyone to start an online fundraising campaign to help raise funds. The platform enables The Black Fish to operate more financially independent from traditional grants. Read more…

May – After three months of undercover investigations in Southern Italy, The Black Fish has been able to secure a number of confiscations of juvenile anchovy catches. Working in cooperation with the Italian authorities, illegal fishing in the region is under increased scrutiny. Read more…

May – The Black Fish runs its first series of public Citizen Inspector trainings in Germany and the UK. Having already trained other inspectors during field work in previous years, the organisation’s Citizen Inspector Network is set to become the largest fisheries monitoring network. Read more…

April – The Black Fish, in partnership with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, presents a groundbreaking report at the UN Crime Congress in Doha, Qatar. The report set out the case for illegal fishing to be treated as a form of organized crime. Read more…

2014

November – The Black Fish sets sail and confiscates illegal Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in the Souther Tyrrhenian Sea. With the Italian Coastguard under-resourced to tackle the illegal FAD problem, the action is welcomed by the regional authorities. Read more…

November – The Black Fish signs for an official enforcement partnership with the Italian Coastguard. The organisations will cooperate on investigations and share evidence to direct enforcement efforts. Read more…

October – As a way of kick-starting its Baltic Sea campaign The Black Fish ran a public speaking tour across all nine Baltic Sea countries, raising awareness on regional marine conservation issues and rallying support for its work. Read more…

August – Citizen Inspectors of The Black Fish investigate the illegal fishing of cod fish by the nephrop fishery in Southern Sweden. The Marine Stewardship Council is later criticised for allowing the certification of the fishery to continue, despite evidence of criminal practices. Read more…

June – Citizen Inspectors are actively conducting port and market inspections in North Africa to investigate unchecked shark fishing. Focus is on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Read more…

June – A new international programme is launched as part of World Oceans Day, bringing a unique approach to the global effort to halt illegal fishing. The Citizen Inspector Network aims to train hundreds of volunteers as inspectors, realising independent monitoring of fishing activity in Europe’s fishing ports and markets. The network, set up by The Black Fish, aims to train 1,600 volunteers in 10 years, doubling the total amount of fishing inspectors in the EU. Read more…

May – The European Commission announces its intention to prohibit the use of all types of driftnets for fishing in all EU waters as of 1 January 2015. The Black Fish celebrates but after a personal meeting with EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, vows to continue its investigations into illegal driftnet practices. Read more…

March – The Black Fish expands its team by bringing 12 new people onboard, moving the total international team to 23 staff members. Meet our team…

2013

November – The Black Fish finishes a six week long speaking tour across England, Wales and Scotland to raise awareness of illegal overfishing and to rally support for its upcoming campaigns in Europe. With over 30 public events the tour is believed to be the largest-ever of its kind to be organised in the UK. Read more…

August – The Black Fish joins a new campaign for the conservation of the Baltic Sea and helps with events in Germany and Denmark, organised as part of the Race For The Baltic. Read more…

June – The Black Fish concludes an investigation, monitoring for illegal driftnet use across the Mediterranean Sea. Evidence of such activity was collected most notably in Albania and Tunisia, two countries which were included in the campaign after an emergency grant from the Waitt Foundation. Investigations continue into illegal driftnet use in this region. Read more…

June – Thanks to a new partnership with the organisation ShadowView, The Black Fish is able to launch a series of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to monitor for illegal driftnet use off the coast of Italy. Watch the video…

May – The Black Fish premieres Losing Nemo, a short animation produced by MrLee, to raise the alarm on global overfishing. The online release attracts over 150.000 viewers and the film goes on to the win an award at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival. Read more…

April – The Black Fish initiates an online campaign and successfully convinces the Mayor of Amsterdam to halt a mass release of 150.000 balloons, which would have had detrimental impacts on marine life once the deflated balloons would have landed in the North Sea. Read more…

April – The Black Fish launches its new marine training programme, allowing individuals to gain specialist skills that can be utilized in marine conservation work. Certificates in diving, sailing and power boat driving can be obtained through a series of professional courses that are typically organised over summer. Courses in development include subjects such as marine engineering, fisheries enforcement, grassroots campaigning and marine mammal rescue. Read more…

March – The Black Fish establishes a partnership with technological innovators at the organisation ShadowView, to launch a new ambitious conservation campaign, exposing illegal driftnet fishing in the Mediterranean using drones. The euipment allows for increased monitoring, which will ensure evidence of illegal driftnet use can be collected and pressure be put on local and national authorities to take act on the illegality. Read more…

Dolphin trainer turned activists Ric O'Barry support the Munster dolphinarium campaign

February – A large international group of professional animators, designers, producers and composers start work with The Black Fish on an ambitious new animation film project, bringing attention to the problems of overfishing and the need for urgent action to turn the tide for conservation. One of the things making the film project unique are the contributions from a large number of professional animators, all working for the cause entirely voluntary. Read more…

2012

December – The Black Fish joins other organisations in responding to a humpback whale stranding off the Dutch coast, for which the Dutch authorities declared a state of emergency, blocking access to rescue workers. Skipper of The Black Fish boat Zeno 1325, Wietse van der Werf, breaches the no-go zone and drops a medical team off at the stranding site, to determine whether or not the animal is still alive. The young humpback was found to have died overnight. The next day the responsible Minister responds to calls by The Black Fish and other organisations and agrees to draw up a national protocol to deal more professionally with future whale strandings. Read more…

November – The Black Fish tours across England to rally support for its new community-driven approach to marine conservation. The tour is a big success, with well attended events in Brighton, Wolverhampton, London, Cambridge, Leicester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Oxford. Read more…

October – The long-awaited book The Bluefin Bonanza is published, lifting the lid on the lucrative trade in the endangered bluefin tuna. The book is self-published by The Black Fish and made possible thanks to the contributions of 18 different authors, researchers, photographers, illustrators and designers. Order your copy now…

Dolphin trainer turned activists Ric O'Barry support the Munster dolphinarium campaign

July – A diving team of The Black Fish successfully release over 1,000 endangered bluefin tuna back into the Adriatic Sea from cages at a fish farm near the island of Ugljan, Croatia. The action marks the start of a new campaign to highlight the lucrative trade in the endangered bluefin tuna, a fish species heavily impacted by illegal overfishing in the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the freed tuna measure only 50 cm in length. Thanks to the intervention the animals were able to reproduce, giving hope for the increasingly threatened bluefin tuna populations. Read more…

February – The UK based organisation Fish Protection League (FPL) officially merges with The Black Fish, creating the world’s largest organisation dedicated to the protection of fish. The FPL, formerly known as the Campaign for the Abolition of Angling (CAA) has been working for the welfare of fish and against fishing cruelty since 1981. Read more…

February – The Black Fish joins the OCEAN2012 coalition as its 150th member organisation. The coalition is the largest of its kind, working to end industrial overfishing of European seas and pushing for much needed reforms to the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which is due for a overhaul later in the year. Read more…

2011

September – The Black Fish opens a new office in Malmö, Sweden, in addition to its location in Amsterdam. The office has been donated by another environmental organisation and will be used for a new investigative project, focused on the effects of industrial fishing in the Baltic Sea. Read more…

September – The Belgian organisation How To Save The Bluefin merges with The Black Fish to build a stronger alliance in the fight to end bluefin tuna overfishing. The two organisations will continue as one under the banner of The Black Fish. Read more…

Dolphin trainer turned activists Ric O'Barry support the Munster dolphinarium campaign

August – The Black Fish and other organisations in the Orca Coalition secure a landmark ruling as a Dutch court blocks orca Morgan’s proposed transfer to a SeaWorld owned entertainment park at Tenerife, Spain. Furthermore the judge orders the responsible Ministry to investigate the case independently. The ruling is unprecedented and means that for the first time the transport of a captive orca to a facility is succesfully prohibited. Read more…

June – During World Ocean Day, The Black Fish announces it has raised the necessary funds for a rigid inflatable boat. A 5,5 meter boat, previously in service with the Dutch Royal Lifeguard Association, is purchased and renamed Zeno 1325, after Benjamin Zeno Sharkey, a friend and fellow activist who died in 2010.

March – The Black Fish announces plans to focus its efforts on industrial fisheries in Europe and launches a fundraising appeal for a rigid inflatable boat. Read more…

February – The Black Fish and other organisations announce a partnership with top barrister Marq Wijngaarden and start a lawsuit for the release of orca Morgan. Questions are asked in the Dutch parliament and Morgan’s case enjoys widespread media coverage. A heated debate between Morgan’s chief veterinarian and the Orca Coalition is broadcasted live on national TV. Read more…

Dolphin trainer turned activists Ric O'Barry support the Munster dolphinarium campaign

2010

October – The Black Fish founds the Orca Coalition together with six other organisations in The Netherlands and starts working for the release of orca Morgan, a young female killer whale that stranded in June 2010. Although she regained her strength and was nursed back to health, the dolphinarium where she is held refuses to release her. Read more…

September – After only a few weeks of campaigning in Münster, the owners of the dolphinarium announce to re-home
the dolphins by the end of 2012. Read more…


September
– Activists of The Black Fish cut the nets of six holding pens in the harbour of Taiji, Japan.
An estimated ten dolphins swim back out into open sea, escaping lifelong captivity. Read more…

August – The Black Fish starts an intensive campaign in Münster, Germany, for the closure of the local run-down dolphinarium and relocation of the four dolphins kept there. Read more…

August – Founding of The Black Fish in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Read more…