Letter of complaint by iSea for the displaying of a protected Blackchin guitarfish

Recently, an incident of illegal fishing of a protected Blackchin guitarfish individual from Chios sent to us by a supporter of iSea. The legal department of the organisation, after contacting the relevant port authority, sent the following letter with a view to triggering all necessary actions that would clarify the case.

From: iSea, Environmental Organisation for the Preservation of the Aquatic Ecosystems

Protocol Number: 316

To: Central Port Authority of Chios

Title: Letter of complaint of the displaying of a protected batoid catch

On 20/2/2020, we detected on Facebook a post by a social media user, which exhibited a capture of a Rhinobatos cemiculus (RBC) Blackchin guitarfish individual. The species in the EU waters and is prohibited from retained on board, transhipped, landed, transferred, stored, sold or displayed or offered for sale based on the Regulation (EU) 2015/2102 (amending Regulation (EU) No 1343/2011 on certain provisions for fisheries in the area of the GFCM Agreement (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, Barcelona Convention on the Protection of the Mediterranean from Pollution) and in particular Protocol II on Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity in the Mediterranean “).

The post was posted in the public profile of the user ” Εστιατόριο Λιμανάκι Θαλασσινά” which apparently belongs to a restaurant from Chios island. The user profile indicates the location of the restaurant (Volissos Chios) and the name of the owner. The information displayed in this profile in combination with the posted photo leaves no doubt about the identity of the offender.

As Facebook posting constitutes, according to the Greek courts, an acceptable means of proof and the information posted by the user on public internet access does not constitute personal data and does not fall under the protective provisions of the European Regulation on the Processing of Personal Data 2018/1725, neither in those of the Greek Law 2472/1997 “on the protection of personal data” we call the competent authorities to immediately investigates the incident, identify the offender and enforce the relevant administrative fine as required by law.

iSea as an organisation remains at your disposal for any clarification or assistance necessary to investigate the incident, as it relates to a rare and endangered species that have been frequently notified to the relevant port authorities, fishing associations and operators. Accordingly, with this letter, we notify your office, which is responsible for the implementation of the aforementioned Regulations, on the incident. Attached you will find the picture posted in the public profile of the user.

The Director of the Legal Department of iSea

Vasiliki Oikonomou