IOTC Government Secretary Christopher O’Brien mentioned vessels might have fished in a fashion inconsistent with present IOTC conservation and administration measures, or did not adjust to the legal guidelines and rules of a coastal state in whose waters have been discovered fishing.
A number of the vessels may additionally have been solely engaged in fishing for species not coated by the IOTC Settlement or the IOTC Conservation and Administration Measures.
For instance, the Indian marked HAIL MARIYA it isn’t on the present IOTC Register of Licensed Vessels, and “is presumed to not have been licensed by its flag state to fish on the excessive seas.”
“The longliner was illegally fishing and not using a license inside BIOT waters; she was inspected on February 13, 2022 and the Captain admitted to having been fishing BIOT for 7 or 8 days with historic proof of the vessel’s actions to assist this,” the IOTC mentioned.
One other ship, the Mangala, entered a French unique financial zone and was discovered to have illegally caught fish inside French waters, the IOTC mentioned.
Nevertheless, the COVID-19 outbreak hampered the efforts of a crew of investigators and representatives from the waters of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) to the IOTC to board the vessel and conduct a full legal investigation into the vessel’s exercise. vessel.
Though India provided to analyze the vessel’s actions, India’s Fishery Growth Commissioner Anees Siddiqui mentioned in a letter to the IOTC that “it’s tough to ascertain the id of the fishing vessel. HAIL MARIYA with out having your possession information registration quantity.”
He mentioned that, not like the offending vessel, “all Indian fishing vessels appropriately show their registration quantity together with the flag title.”
“The fishing boat reveals an Indian flag painted on the bow of the boat, the dearth of another registration or identification mark means that the boat can also be in a department of Indian rules,” says Siddiqui.
The IOTC mentioned India-flagged vessels illegally fishing in BIOT waters have change into a recurring downside for a number of years, with little proof that India has taken motion to forestall it.
In February 2022, the IOTC estimated that 18 vessels, believed to be flying the Indian flag, have been working in BIOT waters, “some doubtlessly appearing in an organized method, reinforcing the view that flag state controls are missing to forestall IUU fishing by their nationals”.
In some circumstances, vessels did not file and report catches in accordance with IOTC administration measures, or falsely reported catches.
Others have been reported for touchdown undersized fish in contravention of IOTC tips, with some discovered to be fishing throughout closed fishing intervals or in closed areas. Different vessels have been discovered to be utilizing prohibited fishing gear or transshipping with vessels not included within the IOTC Register of Licensed Vessels.
Photograph courtesy of the Indian Ocean Tuna Fee