China takes out bluefin poachers

Published by FiskerForum, 22-06-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

The company operating two vessels identified last year fishing illegally has been deregistered, its vessels banned from fishing and a fined the equivalent of more than half a million US$.

Da Yang 15 and Da Yang 16 were identified during Operation Zodiac in July last year fishing without licences between New Zealand and Fiji and New Zealand Navy offshore patrol vessel Otago found the two fishing vessels to be in contravention of international law.

As offences took place international waters, the flag state bears responsibility for vessels under its flag, and after a long investigation, the Chinese authorities have concluded that Da Yang 15 and Da Yang 16 were unlicensed and had also misreported more than 100 tonnes of southern bluefin tuna as other species.

This was the first time that genetic samples of fish had been taken during an ‘at sea’ inspection, with subsequent genetic analysis carried out by New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) demonstrating beyond doubt that the fish were southern bluefin tuna and not bigeye tuna, as reported by the master of the Da Yang 16.

According to MPI spokesman Gary Orr, as well as the company being fined and deregistered, the company’s vessels have been permanently banned from all deep-sea fishing activities.

‘The outcome illustrates a serious response by the Chinese Government to fisheries non-compliance. The laws that were broken are developed and implemented by the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and designed to sustainably manage the Pacific tuna stocks in the high seas adjacent to the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),’ he said.

‘The value of undertaking monitoring, control and surveillance activities on the high seas cannot be underestimated. We have thanked the Chinese authorities for their comprehensive and thorough investigation. Unlicensed fishing undermines the principles of sustainable fisheries management. Ensuring high levels of compliance within the adjacent high seas tuna fishery is one of the key objectives of New Zealand’s maritime patrolling programme - an activity that New Zealand invests in because the programme ultimately supports sustainable fisheries management.’


Source: MPI

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