The plan was to fish blue whiting in Chilean waters with what is probably the most effective factory trawler in the world. The fish southern hake was supposed to be a subsidiary catch. Doubt arose as to how large the subsidiary catch of southern hake should be, and research proved that the main catch blue whiting was an important part of the diet of the southern hake.
Along with CONAPACH, the organisation of inshore fishermen, Greenpeace criticized the plans because they feared that the fisheries resources would be harvested too heavily. Southern hake is the main catch of the inshore fishermen, and a dramatic reduction in the stock of fish would be devastating to them.
Greenpeace-activist Harald Sævareid bought one share in Aker, and faced the general assembly of that company to warn the shareholders against a proposed merger with RGI, a company which he accused of being responsible for ruthless exploitation of natural resources. In his opinion, the company would have to pay for this in the end.
Chilean authorities refused the American Monarch's request to combine the licenses necessary to start fishing. Since then, the boat has been in dock in Seattle, and it has become both a financial headache and a loss of prestige for Aker RGI, whose "readjustment costs" for their South American activities amounted to NOK 250 million this year.
Hopefully this will teach them that crime doesn't pay.
Norwatch Newsletter 12/97