Illegal fishing: Sri Lankan boat caught in Seychelles' waters, crew to appear in court on May 27
the vessel was intercepted by the Seychelles Coast Guard on May 11 after an alert by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA). (Seychelles Defence Forces)
The crew of a Sri Lankan vessel caught on suspicion of illegal fishing in Seychelles' waters is expected to appear in court on May 27.
According to a press release from the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), the vessel was intercepted by the Seychelles Coast Guard on May 11 after an alert by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).
"A local fishing vessel reported spotting a foreign fishing boat engaging in suspected illegal fishing activity within Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in an area South-East of Mahe," said the SDF.
The Seychelles Coast Guard ship Zoroaster was sent to investigate the area and its officers intercepted and boarded the foreign fishing boat. The SDF says that evidence linked to suspected illegal fishing was found and the vessel with six fishermen on board was escorted to Port Victoria.
This is the sixth vessel caught on suspicion of illegal fishing in the waters of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, since the beginning of the year but the first one from Sri Lanka.
The five boats arrested previously were from India and the case is still in a litigation process. The five captains are the only ones in the country as the crew members have been repatriated to India.
As a deterrent, in August last year, the Seychelles Supreme court imposed a heavy fine of SCR2.5 million - or $167,000 - on the captain of a Sri Lankan-flagged vessel intercepted in the waters of Seychelles who was found guilty of fishing without a foreign fishing vessel licence.
Seychelles has a vast EEZ of 1.4 million square kilometres, which presents a challenge for monitoring illegal activities in the island nation's waters.