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Illegal fishing vessel found in the Ross Sea

Illegal fishing vessel found in the Ross Sea



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Hon Rick Barker
Duty Minister

16 January 2008
Media Statement
Illegal fishing vessel found in the Ross Sea

A blacklisted fishing vessel was detected by a RNZAF P3 Orion in the Ross Sea more than 1500 kilometres south of Invercargill, Duty Minister Rick Barker said today.

An RNZAF patrol carrying out surveillance against illegal fishing in the Ross Sea yesterday saw the Triton-1 120 nautical miles within the area managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

The RNZAF crew interrogated the vessel and reported the sighting, Mr Barker said.

“The vessel is flagged to Sierra Leone but appears to be operated by a Spanish company.

“Its detection is of very great concern. New Zealand is committed to combating illegal unreported and unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean.

“These vessels have wreaked havoc on the valuable toothfish stocks in the Southern Ocean and have also caused considerable environmental damage, including to Antarctic seabirds over the years.

“New Zealand will be reporting the sighting to CCAMLR headquarters in Hobart urgently so all the Commission’s 25 members are made aware of the vessel’s activities,” Mr Barker said.

Response action includes the banning of trade in fish from the vessel and refusing access to members’ ports for the vessel.

The surveillance mission was undertaken through Operation Mawsoni, which is led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to support CCAMLR.

Mr Barker paid tribute to the RNZAF crew who detected the vessel on the 10-hour flight.

“Our long range maritime patrol capability is second to none and New Zealanders should be proud of their efforts,” Mr Barker said.

No whaling ships were detected on the patrol. The Japanese fleet is believed to be closer to Africa than New Zealand this summer.


ENDS

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