Seven men given suspended jail sentences for trawling

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Seven men who used trawling gear to fish illegally on March 7 were convicted and sentenced at Fanling Magistrates' Court today (March 9).

     The Marine Police mounted an anti-illegal fishing operation in Kat O and Mirs Bay area on March 7, and found a shrimp trawler suspected to be trawling in the eastern waters of Kat O at about 8.55pm. They intercepted the vessel for an inspection. About 5 kilograms of catch and some gear used for trawling were seized on board the vessel.

     The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) took over the case.

Upon investigation, a male master on the vessel was charged with contravening the Fisheries Protection Regulations by using prohibited fishing gear. He was convicted and sentenced to three months' imprisonment suspended for two years today. The remaining six men were also charged with using prohibited fishing gear, and were convicted and sentenced to two months' imprisonment suspended for two years today.

The fishing gear concerned was also forfeited.

    An AFCD spokesman reminded the public that the ban on trawling came into force on December 31, 2012. Under the Fisheries Protection Ordinance, any person who contravenes the ban is liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction.

     Trawling is a non-selective fishing operation which damages the seabed and marine ecosystems. A ban on trawling brings this harmful depletion 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, "AFCD and the Police will continue to carry out joint enforcement operations to crack down on illegal fishing activities."

Published on: 2018-03-09

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