23 Jun 2004

Tonga fines Taiwanese fishing boat

3:40 pm on 23 June 2004

Tonga has fined and temporarily banned a Taiwanese fishing vessel from its waters for a series of infringements, including catching shark when it was licensed for tuna.

The acting director of the Fisheries, Apisake Soaki, says the Ching Fong Wa number One was fishing in restricted areas, inconstistently operating its position monitoring VMS system, as well as illegally fishing for shark.

Ms Soaki says the company had to pay 22,000 US dollars for the return of 15 tonnes of shark meat and fins.

She says this amounted to a fine and the boat lost its licence to fish in Tongan waters this year.

"Their licence has been cancelled for the calendar year and of course once we have a clearer direction on shark fishing they will be able to return."

Apisake Soaki