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Sanford welcomes toothfish seizure from allegedly pirate vessel

Fishing vessel Perlon, whose fish load was confiscated by Malasyan authorities. (Photo Credit: Australian Customs)

Click on the flag for more information about New ZealandNEW ZEALAND
Friday, May 15, 2015, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
New Zealand fishing company Sanford has welcomed the Malasyan Government's decision to seize the cuttlefish load from a fishing vessel that is suspected of having been involved in illegal fishing activity for a long time.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has performed the biggest seizure of poached seafood this year amounting to be over MYR 23 million (USD 6.4 million).
The fish load, made up of 330 tonnes of Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni), was aboard the Perlon -- a Nigeria-registered vessel that was detained by Malasyan authorities, The Nation reported.
MMEA District Seven commander Maritime Captain Amran Daud informed that other two vessels -- Kiribati-registered tugboat and a barge – were also detained about 3.5 nautical miles south-east of Tanjung Penyusup.
MMEA sources declared that investigations showed that the Nigerian ship had been used frequently for fishing in the Indian Ocean near Antarctica since 1997. Besides, it had changed its name and port of registration several times to confuse the authorities.
The official entity claimed having detained 30 Indonesians, seven Senegalese, four Spaniards, two Chileans, two Indian nationals, a Bangladeshi and a Singaporean in the seizure.
The measure adopted by Malasya was applauded by Sanford, which is one of the two firms in New Zealand having permit to catch toothfish in the Ross Sea. 
The firm’s chief operations officer, Greg Johansson, pointed out that the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) fisheries are carefully managed for a reason, and illegal fishing of this species is a threat to conservation efforts.
“This is an excellent example of the concerted effort that is needed to stomp out the last few remaining IUU, or illegal, unreported or unregulated vessels operating in Antarctic waters. We need more work like this to stop the landing and selling of illegally caught fish irrespective of the species, and the reflagging of pirate vessels almost at will,” Johansson stated.
Sanford sources informed that the firm’s vessels operating in Antarctic waters are constantly on the look out for evidence of pirate vessel activity and are grateful for the help of the Royal New Zealand Navy and vessels like those from Sea Shepherd, in trying to track the activities of any pirate vessel. Pirate vessels have never been found operating in the Ross Sea.
“It is part of the CCAMLR licence agreement for the Ross Sea that Sanford vessels will monitor and report any illegal activity they come across. But it takes a collective international effort by all port and flag states to drive these pirate vessels out of business,” explained Johansson.

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