Greenpeace Fined for Illegally Placing GPS Devices on Fishing Boats

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Last January, Greenpeace was charged and acquitted in a Danish court for illegally placing a number of GPS devices in numerous fishing boats to monitor their activities. Recently, the Danish Eastern High Court overturned the decision based on the prosecution’s appeal and fined the radical activist group NOK 25,000 (USD 4,400) for trespassing.

Greenpeace was accused under the nation’s Criminal Code (Section 264), which says it is illegal “with intent to obtain or become aware of information about a company’s trade secrets.”

An activist with the organization, Sebastian Ostenfeldt Jensen, was also identified as responsible and fined NOK 2,250 (USD 400) for placing the tracking devices on the boats. Jensen was involved with placing the devices in the Gilleleje harbor in 2010 to prove that the vessels in question were fishing for cod in the Kattegat Sea, where there is a ban on fishing. Greenpeace’s defense attorney said the action was necessary to prevent damage to the cod stock of that region.

Though Greenpeace’s actions did in fact lead to legal action against four Gilleleje fishers, Chairman of the Danish Fishermen Association Svend-Erik Andersen argues their methods were unnecessary. “We have always maintained that Greenpeace deliberately broke the law to get attention for their cause,” Andersen said. “Although they easily could have obtained the information they wanted from the Directorate of Fisheries.” Andersen further elaborated that he is happy with the decision and felt that the court delivered justice to those who deserved it.

The Copenhagen Post reports that Greenpeace intends to take the case to the Danish Supreme Court.