Refus de débarquement pour pêche illégale

Pour la seconde fois en 25 jours, un important navire thonier, connu pour avoir pêché illégalement s’est refusé la permission débarquer ses prises dans un port d’Afrique du Sud-Est.
Ce 19 avril, le navire au drapeau coréen Premier a tenté d’accéder à un port de l’Ile Maurice et débarquer ses prises de thon, mais, grâce à la collaboration régionale FISH-i: Africa pour combattre la pêche illégale, les autorités portuaires étaient déjà prévenues d’un premier refus dans un port des Seychelles le 26 mars dernier, pour cause de soupçon de pratique de pêche illégale et de fabrication de documents.
Les autorités mauriciennes étaient donc préparées pour présenter les preuves au capitaine du navire, justifiant le refus de débarquement.

Le Premier, qui appartient au géant alimentaire coréen Dongwon Industries, avait été antérieurement signalé comme pratiquant la pêche illégale dans les eaux libériennes en novembre 2011, puis à de nombreuses reprises (voir déroulé ci-dessous).

Dans le communiqué en anglais ci-dessous, plus d’informations sur Stop Illegal Fishing, soutenu par le Pew Charitable Trust et sur les antécédents de l’incident.

 

Fish-i Africa Report: Major Tuna Vessel Denied Port Landing Due to Illegal Fishing Evidence

For the second time in 25 days, a major tuna fishing vessel that is known to have fished illegally has been denied permission to land its catch in a Southeast African port. On April 19, the Korean-flagged vessel Premier attempted to come to port in Mauritius and offload a hold full of tuna but, due to the FISH-i: Africa regional partnership to stop illegal fishing, port officials there were already aware that the Premier had been denied port landing in the Seychelles on March 26 on suspicion of illegal fishing and forging documents.  Mauritian officials were thus ready to present evidence to the vessel captain to justify the denial of landing.

Five countries in Southeast Africa – Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles and the United Republic of Tanzania – are members of FISH-i: Africa, a project supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Stop Illegal Fishing or SIF, a working group set up by African countries  to ending the devastating impacts of illegal fishing in African country waters. FISH-i: Africa is intended to boost cooperation and communication in the region to help those governments identify, monitor and initiate enforcement actions against suspected illegal fishers.

The Premier, which is owned by the Korean seafood giant Dongwon Industries, was first reported to be fishing illegally in Liberian waters in November 2011. Since that time, SIF and the FISH-i: Africa network, with the assistance of the Trygg Mat Analytical Unit, have been monitoring the vessel’s movements. After the Premier was denied access to port in Victoria, Seychelles, on March 26, the vessel showed movements consistent with fishing in international waters to the northeast of that island nation. From April 7 to 9, the vessel turned off its satellite communications system. On April 13, satellite tracking data obtained by Fish-i indicate that the vessel was in contact with a Dongwon-owned purse seiner, Xixili, in international waters to the northeast of the Seychelles, suggesting a possible transhipment of fish between the vessels.  Following this, the Premier sailed to Mauritius where it arrived April 19 and made the request to offload fish.

“This is a major victory in the fight against illegal fishing,” said Tony Long, director of Pew’s campaign to end illegal fishing worldwide. “We had high hopes for the Fish-i project and it is encouraging to see Southeast African countries working so closely together to share and act on intelligence to protect their waters – and their economies – against this large-scale organized crime. This strong move by the Mauritian government sends a clear signal that criminal fishing fleets can no longer steal from African waters and citizens with impunity.”

Evidence linking the Premier to IUU fishing activities in Africa since 2012

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