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|Palau, February 16, 12|
A USD 65,000 fine and one year ban has been issued by the Palau Government against illegal Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel,
On December 8th last year, Palauan fisheries officials boarded and detained a Taiwanese tuna longliner during a joint patrol with Greenpeace of the Pacific Island nation’s exclusive economic zone. The Palauan patrol boat, PSS President H.I. Remeliik and the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, then escorted the vessel Sheng Chi Hui No.7 to port.
A Greenpeace helicopter flight spotted the sharks and fins on board the Sheng Chi Hui No.7 on the morning of December 8th, while the fishing vessel was inside Palauan waters –which were declared a shark sanctuary in 2009.
Greenpeace oceans team leader, Lagi Toribau, said it was courageous of the Palau government for taking a stand to enforce fisheries regulations and bring illegal pirate fishing operations to justice. “Now we are calling on the Taiwanese government - as the responsible flag state - to better regulate its fishing industry.”
He also urged other Pacific Island Governments to stand together in solidarity at the upcoming Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Guam for the protection of their ocean resources against illegal fishing vessels such as the Shen Chi Hui No.7 . Greenpeace wants foreign fleets and nations to reduce their fishing by half and agree to the closure of the Pacific Commons -areas of high seas that flank a dozen Pacific Island countries- to all fishing.