Marshalls holds Taiwan boat for illegal fishing

4:20 pm on 27 February 2015

A Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel is being held in the Marshall Islands until it pays a 500,000 US dollar bond or resolves illegal fishing charges filed in the local courts.

Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands Photo: RNZI

But a representative of the arrested vessel has expressed outrage over the criminal charges that are preventing it from continuing fishing.

As of Thursday, the purse seine boat Jih Yu 212 had not paid the bond and was being held by authorities in Majuro.

The owners Chern Lung Fisheries, its fishing master and the boat's radio operator face nine charges that carry a maximum fine of 6.5 million dollars.

They have pleaded not guilty to the charges of fishing without a licence and five counts of obstructing a fisheries observer.

A Majuro-based agent for the vessel, Pony Ma, says the charges from the observers are ridiculous because any problems should be reported and resolved after each trip.

The vessel had been licenced to fish in the Marshall Islands in 2014, but none for 2015.