Palau: Taiwanese Shark Poacher Fined $100K
Office of the President, Republic of Palau
19. March 2015
On January 26, Palau Marine Law Enforcement successfully apprehended the Shin Jyi Chyuu 33, a longline vessel flagged in Taiwan, for illegal fishing activity in the nation’s waters. The vessel was found with 304 shark carcasses and several hundred shark fins on board. As the world’s first shark sanctuary, such action violates Palauan law which clearly forbids all commercial shark fishing. The vessel paid a fine of $100,000 and forfeited all of its catch.
Under the proposed legislation for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, this penalty could have been as high as $500,000 to $1 million. The incident underscores the threats Palau faces from foreign fishing vessels which refuse to comply with the law. It also highlights the importance of protecting our island nation’s waters through clear legislation, including the proposed Palau National Marine Sanctuary law, which would ban all commercial fishing over a period of five years in 80 percent of the nation’s exclusive economic zone. This law, if enacted, would also make it easier for Palau’s law enforcement officers to detect and stop illegal activity.
Shinn Jyi Chyuu 33 was first identified in December 2014 through an early initiative of Project Eyes on the Seas, which uses new technology designed to help monitor, detect, and respond to suspicious fishing activity around the world. This system was developed by Satellite Applications Catapult, a British company established through a U.K. government initiative, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, a U.S. non-governmental organization that President Remengesau has asked to assist with the law enforcement plan for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary bill.
Palau Marine Law Enforcement was immediately notified, and, over the next few weeks, the vessel was continuously watched for suspicious activity. The vessel was eventually apprehended on January 26, and is no longer in Palau’s waters.
Project Eyes on the Seas and its Virtual Watch Room for marine sanctuaries will be available to assist with protection of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.
Source: Republic of Palau