November 8, 2006

Criminal Case Opened Against Japanese Boat Captain for Illegal Fishing

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY. Nov 8 (Interfax) - A criminal case has been launched against the captain of the Tomi Maru-53, a Japanese fishing trawler that was stopped by Russian coastguards in the Bering Sea on allegations of illegal fishing on November 2.

The criminal case was launched on charges of violating fishing rules in Russia's exclusive economic zone, environmental protection prosecutor for Kamchatka Region Alexander Teplyakov told Interfax on Wednesday.

"After the catch was unloaded, it was established that the crew had caught over 25 tonnes of bass, halibut and skates they had no permission to catch.

The two other Japanese fishing trawlers detained - the Yeukei Maru-5 and the Gekuryu Maru - are being unloaded in the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Both crews have been accused of violating fishing rules, but "whether or not sanctions will be imposed on the two captains will be decided after the catch is examined," the Northwestern Border Department told Interfax.

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