Tahiti govt rules out poaching by stricken Chinese vessel

8:14 am on 8 April 2020

The French Polynesian government says the Chinese fishing vessel which ran aground in the Tuamotu archipelago last month wasn't involved in any poaching in French Polynesian waters.

The vice-president Teva Rohfritsch issued a statement a day after Tahiti Nui TV carried a report saying shark fins were found in the hold of the abandoned ship.

Teva Rohfritsch of French Polynesia's Atia Porinetia Party

Vice-president Teva Rohfritsch Photo: supplied

Sharks are protected in French Polynesia.

Mr Rohfritsch said the ship the Shen Gang Shun 1 had left Tahiti on 20 March after undergoing repairs and restocking.

According to the statement, the ship left with 15 tons of frozen fish on board along with 26 tons of bait.

After the ship had run aground at Arutua atoll the crew of 36 was immediately rescued by another fishing vessel belonging to the same Chinese fishing company operating the area.

The mayor of Arutua Reupena Samuel Taputuarai went to the ship and was reported to have discovered shark fins were in its freezer.

The government has asked the public to be restrained with comments while the authorities are examining the situation.

Pictures taken in the ship's hold are circulating on social media.

Papeete, which is about 400 kilometres southwest of Arutua, is a key transhipment port for the Chinese fishing fleet in the southeast Pacific.




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