Sea Shepherd fights for Patagonian toothfish

2014-11-21 13:05
A screengrab of fishermen catching a Patagonian toothfish. (YouTube)

A screengrab of fishermen catching a Patagonian toothfish. (YouTube)

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Sydney - The Sea Shepherd organisation is setting out to save the Patagonian toothfish from illegal fishers after years of fighting to save whales in remote southern oceans, a media report said on Friday.

Japan is not hunting for whales in the Southern Ocean this year following years of protests and legal action, but up to six illegal fishing boats are catching the prized deep water toothfish which can sell for up to $100 a kilogramme.

It grows slowly to 2m in length and the catch is highly regulated to manage stocks.

Captain of the ship Bob Barker of the Sea Shepherd group, Peter Hammarstedt, told the Australian broadcaster ABC in Hobart Friday they will leave on 1 December for a very remote part of the Southern Ocean to disrupt the illegal fishers.

"These six ships change flags, change registries, change names constantly, they flag under places like North Korea, Tanzania and Sierra Leone", he said.

"We will confront, obstruct and interfere will their illegal fishing operations. We will do a citizen's arrest of these ships ordering them to port, demanding that authorities take over the arrest from us."

The Australian government plans to send customs vessels to patrol the Southern Ocean for the illegal fishers.

Parliamentary secretary in charge of fisheries, senator Richard Coleback, told the ABC Australia was trying to get Asian countries to deny the illegal fishers access to their ports so they cannot sell their catch.

In 2003, an Australian customs vessels chased a Uruguayan trawler suspected of poaching toothfish for 20 days across 4 000 nautical miles of stormy sub-Antarctic waters. The crew were arrested, but in 2005 were acquitted in a Perth court.

Read more on:    sea shepherd  |  australia  |  marine life  |  conservation

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