Two pelagic trawlers arrested for discards
Tuesday, October 22, 2002, 14:00 (GMT + 9)
The Dutch Oceaan VII and German Helen Mary were arrested by the Norwegian Coast Guard on Friday. A routine inspection revealed that the vessels used sorting equipment to dump herring bycatch and small mackerel during mackerel fisheries.
The vessels were taken to Bergen and will remain there until the police have finished questioning the crew.
"The vessels were subjected to routine inspections by Coast Guard vessel Ålesund on Friday north of the Viking Bank. The vessels were fishing legally, but we found that both vessels used sorting machinery to dump fish. In the case of Oceaan VII, we found that the vessel dumped the herring bycatch and small mackerel. In addition, the vessel had failed to enter the herring bycatch in the catch journal. The German vessel was found to dump bycatch herring," Lieutenant Commander Tom Zachariasen told FIS.com.
It is illegal to discard bycatch and small fish in the Norwegian Economic Zone (EEZ).
"Both captains claimed ignorance of Norwegian law and the matter is now in the hands of the police," Zachariasen informed.
The two vessels were catching in the same area, but are not thought to have cooperated in any way. The Coast Guard did not specifically look for sorting machinery, but found the machinery to be operating during processing of mackerel. Zachariassen said that these were the first arrests of vessels operating sorting machinery this year and he could not recall the last time vessels had been arrested for this.
By Odin Hjellestad