An Industrial vessel Lu Tong Yuang Yu 956 (AF756) has been fined one million dollars for illegal unreported unregulated fishing.
The vessel was discovered by the Western Naval Command of the Ghana Navy whilst on sea patrol on Sunday June 16, 2019 to be dabbling in IUU and was arrested.
The vessel was heading to Cote D’Ivoire for fishing. A joint team of Fisheries Enforcement Unit , Ghana Navy , Marine Police and Ghana Maritime Authority carried out inspections on the vessel on Monday June 17 , 2019 and found out some fishing infractions.
Some of the infractions found on board the vessel includes, 405 cartons and 864 slabs of frozen mixed pelagic fish species generally below the minimum landing size, non logging of catch on board and undersized mesh with mesh sizes of less than the approved 60mm.
Director of Marine, Port and Railway at the Ghana Police Service, ACP Iddi Seidu told the media that the police charged the captain, chief Engineer and second officers and other two Ghanaian crew members and were arraign before a Takoradi Circuit court on June 25th for engaging in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
“The suspect pleaded not guilty to all the charges levelled against them and were granted bail in the sum of five hundred thousand cedis each with two sureties, one of whom must be a resident of Sekondi-Takoradi while the said vessel remained detained at the Sekondi Naval Command.
ACP Iddi Seidu further stated that lawyer for the vessel, Mr Wahid Iderisu Wampouri sought in a writing to have the case heard out of court under section 116 of the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act625) .
Western Regional Director of the Fisheries Commission, Godfrey Baidoo-Tsibu on his part revealed that on Thursday the Fisheries Out of Court Settlement Committee in Takoradi arranged an out of court Settlement after the lawyer for the owner of the vessel, Gyinam Fisheries Ltd pleaded guilty to the above charges and agreed to the penalty of one million US dollars and an additional fine of One hundred and twenty-four thousand for the fish on board the vessel at the time of the arrest, in accordance with section 88A of Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2014 (Act 880).
At the time of the arrest there were two Ghanaians and five Chinese on board
The owners have up to 30 days to effect full payment of all the fines ,or the case will revert to court.
Empire News’ Emmanuel Ohene-Gyan reports that the said vessel also remains under detention until full payment of the penalty.