Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mozambique Gains IUU Vessel

On 23 July 2008, the "Antillas Reefer" was arrested by the Mozambican authorities after it was observed fishing without a license off the central province of Zambezia with 43 tonnes of sharks, four tonnes of shark fin, 1.8 tonnes of shark tail, 11.3 tonnes of shark liver and 20 tonnes of shark oil, for a total value of five million USD. On board were also 65 tonnes of bait (frozen squid and fish, bait, and illegal deepwater long lines). The vessel was apparently targeting deep sea sharks. Its logbook showed that the Namibian-flagged vessel had been fishing in Mozambique’s waters since early May for a species banned as a target species in Mozambique, namely sharks.

The Ministry took immediate action against the Namibian-flagged fishing vessel for illegally fishing in Mozambique’s waters. The penalty imposed was US$4 million in addition to the confiscation of the vessel, fishing gear and catch – an appropriate penalty for an IUU fishing vessel and a message for other would-be IUU operators throughout the region.

Since then, the fishing company Ompala Fishing (Pty) Ltd, based in Walvis Bay (joint venture Uruguayan company between Mabenol S.A. Spain and Gongala fishing, Namibia) based in Spain and the master, Francisco Fernandez Oliveira, of Spanish nationality, have appealed the decision of the Minister. The decision of the administrative tribunal has been released, proceeding with a decision of forfeiture of the vessel to the State of Mozambique. The Ministry of Fisheries is now seriously considering to convert the Antillas Reefer into a modern long range patrol vessel to patrol its EEZ more efficiently, with the objective to contribute actively to the eradication of IUU fishing activities in its waters and the region.

On 10 March 2010, the Iranian flagged fishing vessel, PAYAM, radio call sign 8895500, port of registry in Shilat Chabahar (Iran), was arrested by the Mozambican Fisheries Authority for IUU fishing. The owner and the captain of the vessel were charged for fishing in Mozambican waters without fishing licence. The fishing vessel did not declare its entry into Mozambican EEZ, had no logbook onboard and the crew members had no identification documents. The owner and the captain of the Payam were fined 45.000 USD and the 9 km drift net was confiscated.

The fine was paid and the vessel was released with its crew. The illegal activity of the PV Payam, registered at IOTC under the name of “VESSEL 4/3689” or IOTC Number “007081”, has been reported to the IOTC. The Payam had a 9 km drift net onboard that contravenes IOTC resolution 09/05, since the vessel was outside the EEZ of its flag State. It is also noted that the Iranian flag vessel contravenes the UN resolution 44/225 adopted at General Assembly of the United Nations the 22 December 1989 and resolution 46/215, asking States for a reduction of the number of vessels involved in drift net fishing activity and reduction by 50 per cent in fishing effort. The IOTC list of authorized vessels contains 754 drift/gill netter fishing vessels registered under the flag or Iran.

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