Foreign skippers charged with illegal fishing in Seychelles’ water
The captains of three foreign vessels caught fishing in Seychelles' waters last month have been charged at the Seychelles Supreme Court. (SIF)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The captains of three foreign vessels caught fishing in Seychelles' waters last month have been charged at the Seychelles Supreme Court.
The skippers of the three vessels -- Kwaley, Safanitoullah II and a third not yet identified -- were charged Tuesday on counts of fishing without a foreign fishing license and entering and fishing in an area designated as a nature reserve.
All three charged are Comoros nationals.
The three foreign fishing vessels, which had a total of 11 crew members on board, were spotted in the vicinity of Aldabra Atoll and Assumption island. They were intercepted by the Seychelles Islands' Foundation (SIF) rangers with the help of three Coast Guard officers based on Aldabra.
The captains of two other vessels charged with similar crimes are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
The Seychelles archipelago consists of 115 widely-spread coral and granite islands. The nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers a vast 1.3 million square kilometres, which often makes it difficult for local enforcement authorities to spot illegal fishing activities.
The maximum penalty for fishing without a foreign fishing license is $207,000. Entering and fishing in a protected marine zone comes with up to a $166,000 fine or one year in prison.
Inspector Barbara Denis of the Seychelles Police Force, who is in charge of the investigation, told SNA that the three skippers are being remanded at the Seychelles’ prison until they are due back in court in early January.
For security reasons the remaining eight crew, also Comoros nationals, are being detained in police custody at the Central Police Station in the capital Victoria.
"We are making provisions with the immigration office for deportation,” Denis said.