Illegal Fishing Crackdown in West African Waters

illegal fishing
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In early January, the Liberian Coast Guard and marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd arrested the Chinese-flagged fishing vessel Guo Ji 809 for illegal fishing.

Sea Shepherd’s ship, M/Y Sam Simon, detected the fishing vessel by radar as it navigated Liberian waters at a speed indicating trawling activity. The Liberian Coast Guard discovered the ship had just retrieved a trawl net. The Guo Ji 809 was carrying an expired fishing license as of December 31, 2017 and had continued to fish into the new year, allegedly against the advice of the Liberian Fisheries Observer on board, who admitted that the they were actively engaged in fishing.

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The Guo Ji 809 was arrested and detained in the port of Monrovia awaiting prosecution. Fishing without a Liberian fishing license is the most serious offense under Liberian Fisheries Regulations, with a fine of up to $1,000,000.

Since February 2017, Sea Shepherd has been assisting Liberia to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by providing a civilian offshore patrol vessel operating in Liberian waters. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing, which accounts for up to 40 percent of the fish caught in West African waters. Sea Shepherd has since helped the Liberian Coast Guard arrest eight fishing vessels involved in illegal fishing.

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