Canadians denied access to Portuguese trawler accused of illegal fishing
18th May 2004
The Portuguese government has refused
Canadian fisheries official’s access to a
Portuguese trawler suspected of illegal
fishing off the Grand Banks.
The Brites docked in Portugal Tuesday afternoon.
Canadians were on hand to take part in
investigations ordered by the European Union.
Geoff Regan, the federal fisheries minister,
confirmed Tuesday that Canadian inspectors
won't be allowed to check the vessel for signs
of the fish.
"Our government hasn't been satisfied with
similar occurrences in the past," he said.
Although Portuguese authorities denied access to Canadian inspectors, officials said they would allow European Union inspectors.
Canada had told the European Union and Portugal it needed to inspect the ship's hold to see if it could find any traces of the protected species.
Canadian authorities boarded the ship off the East Coast just outside Canada's 200-mile limit earlier this month.
Officials accused the crew of cutting the net free and letting it sink as Canadian Coast Guard officials were about to inspect the trawler.
8th May 2004: Seized net had protected species: DFO
The net was recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean just outside Canada's 200-mile limit.
Authorities said they discovered cod, American plaice and redfish in the net.
The total catch was made up of species that are under moratorium.