SA and Mozambique on Foreign fishing Vessels

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
Media Statement
For immediate release 19 March 2004
Contact: Carol Moses 082 829 3917

SOUTH AFRICA AND MOZAMBIQUE TIGHTEN NOOSE ON FOREIGN VESSELS FOR ILLEGAL FISHING

"Deat's fishing patrol vessel, Eagle Star, apprehend two foreign vessels”. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's fishing patrol vessel, the Eagle Star, a vessel forfeited to the state as a result of illegal fishing in 2001, arrested two foreign fishing vessels in Mozambican waters for illegal fishing during the past week. The Eagle Star had been on a joint enforcement exercise with Mozambican officials as part of a monitoring, control and surveillance programme managed by the Southern African Development Community. The first vessel, an Indonesian registered vessel, the MFV "SIN IUPENG" was detected on 11 March 2004 and disobeyed repeated requests from the Mozambican fisheries officials to stop for boarding and inspection. The Inflatable from the Eagle Star with an armed contingent of South African and Mozambican fisheries officers were denied boarding the SINIU PENG. A stun grenade was thrown onboard the SIN IU PENG to ensure access of the South African and Mozambican Fisheries officers onboard the vessel. Kilometers of small mesh gillnets were found onboard. The vessel is registered to fish in Mozambican waters with a Purse seine net only. The catch consisted mostly of King Mackerel and the hold was estimated to be approximately 60 - 70 % full. Two more vessels were detected and on 13 March 2004 the Eagle Star steamed towards the southern most vessel, the MFV "NONG JYL LIH", a Chinese registered vessel. As the vessel tried to flee and altered course towards the East repeated attempts were made to contact the vessel. Requests to stand by for boarding and inspection were ignored. Two stun grenades were thrown at the deck, but the vessel kept steaming and made no attempt to communicate with the Eagle Star. Finally, one of the South African inspectors jumped from the rubber duck onto the stern of the NONG JYL LIH and tied a rope ladder to the stern. Three more inspectors followed who then succeeded in stopping the vessel. Although the NONG JYL LIH is registered to fish in Mozambican waters with a Purse seine net, it had large mesh demersal gillnets onboard with their entire cargo consisting of sharks, mostly giant guitarfish, species under serious threat. The confiscated fish from both vessels is estimated at R2m and the vessels, which are also confiscated, at R7m each. The successful apprehension of these vessels send a strong deterrent signal to all potential poachers of fish stocks and indicates the commitment of both South Africa and Mozambique to enforce compliance with their respective marine laws and to protect fish stocks. This joint exercise is the first of many intended such exercises with Mozambique and other SADC coastal states. The enforcement exercise also offered the South African crew a valuable opportunity to further develop their skills during such exercises.

Issued by Carol Moses. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

082 829 3917 (021) 402 3665