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He may have played a pirate on one of the highest grossing movies of the decade, but Johnny Depp has now raised his sword against the real-life villains of the high seas. The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star has backed the Environmental Justice Foundation's ‘Save the Sea’ campaign to highlight the illegal plunder of the oceans by pirate fishing vessels.

According to the EJF, over 75% of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted and 90% of the world’s large ocean species like cod, halibut and swordfish have been lost since the 1950’s – and in one 8 month period 4 illegal, “pirate”, Moroccan driftnet vessels caught 237 dolphins; 498 blue sharks; 542 short-fin mako; 464 thresher sharks; 46 loggerhead turtles and 2,990 swordfish.

In a letter in support of EJF, Depp has called for an immediate response to the crisis before it is too late.

“Our seas and the people that depend upon them are facing a critical threat,” he wrote. “Pirate fishing operations are plundering fish stocks the world over, which in turn undermine all attempts at their sustainable management, already under pressure from widespread misdirection. The devastating impact of this illegal form of fishing is felt not only by our marine ecosystems, but also by the millions of people living in some of the world’s poorest countries who rely on healthy fish stocks as an essential source of both food and employment.”

In his message of support, Depp highlights the case that “this is not a problem without cure, but we have to act now if we are to protect our marine-life’s biodiversity and food security for future generations. It is more important than you, or any of us, can at this moment even begin to understand. That is why I support the work of the Environmental Justice Foundation to raise awareness and provide ‘real-world’ solutions to the issue. Their efforts to engage in effective action to protect both people and planet will help to bring an end to pirate fishing, once and for all.”

The EJF has recommended several ways in which people can help fight back against the problem, which sees 7.3 million tones of non-target fish discarded and wasted every year. Firstly, when shopping for fish, always look on the label to ensure you are buying certified, sustainable fish. Ask your supermarket or fishmonger if they know where the fish they sell is legally and sustainably-caught. Secondly, buy EJF’s organic cotton ‘Save The Sea’ t-shirt from ejfoundation.org/shop – all proceeds go to the charity.

“If consumers, businesses and politicians take Johnny Depp’s lead, we can end this problem before it is too late,” said Steve Trent, Founder of EJF.

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