Marshalls detains Philippines fishing boat

7:21 am on 6 February 2017

A Philippines fishing boat crew of 79 was prevented from entering the Marshall Islands on Thursday and confined to their vessel after arriving in the country without a fishing licence or advance communication with authorities.

legal Philippines fishing vessel detained in Marshall Islands

legal Philippines fishing vessel detained in Marshall Islands Photo: Hilary Hosia

Police, immigration, customs and health officials reacted quickly to the vessel's arrival at Port Majuro, shutting down access to the dock area and confining the crew - first in a dockside passenger terminal, where immigration documents were checked, and later ordering them to re-board and remain on the vessel.

A senior conservation enforcement officer said it was likely the fishermen were targeting either beche de mer, or live reef fish for the aquarium trade.

The director of the Fisheries Department, Glen Joseph, said there was a process for obtaining a licence to fish that the vessel, YMH Live Fish Carrier, had not adhered to.

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