Trawler suspected of operating illegally intercepted in joint operation

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      A trawler suspected of operating illegally was intercepted in an anti-illegal fishing operation jointly mounted by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Marine Police in the southern waters of Hong Kong last night (November 28).

     At about 6.40pm last night, AFCD officers and the Marine Police patrolling the waters south of Lantau Island found a shrimp trawler suspected to be trawling there. They signaled the vessel to stop for an inspection but it failed to comply. The Marine Police then deployed the vessel arrest system to stop it. Some gear used for trawling was seized on board the vessel.

     Charges were laid today (November 29) against five Mainland men found on the vessel, which was suspected to have contravened the Fisheries Protection Regulations by using prohibited fishing gear. Among them, the master of the vessel was also charged with obstructing public officers in preforming their duty.

They will appear at the Eastern Magistrates' Courts tomorrow (November 30).

     An AFCD spokesman reminded the public that the ban on trawling came into force on December 31, 2012. Any person who contravenes the ban upon conviction is liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for six months under the Fisheries Protection Ordinance (Ordinance). Under the Ordinance, any person who obstructs public officers in performing their duty is liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for three months.
     The spokesman said that trawling is a non-selective fishing operation which damages the seabed and marine ecosystems.

A ban on trawling activities brings this harmful process to an immediate halt, enabling marine ecosystems to be gradually rehabilitated to a sustainable level and be better conserved in the long run.

     The spokesman said, "The AFCD and the Police will continue to carry out joint enforcement operations to crack down on illegal fishing activities."

Published on: 2017-11-29

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