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Illegal Fishing Vessel in Hong Kong Waters Convicted

HONG KONG - The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has successfully prosecuted two Mainland fishermen for engaging in fishing with the use or aid of a non-local fishing vessel in Hong Kong waters. This is the first prosecution taken after the Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (Cap 171) came into effect on 15 June, 2012.

Under Cap 171, no person may be engaged in fishing with the use or aid of a vessel in Hong Kong waters, unless (i) the vessel is a registered vessel; (ii) the person is so engaged under and in accordance with a valid research fishing permit; or (iii) the fishing falls under the list of permitted fishing with the use or aid of non-fishing vessels or local vessels. Any offender on conviction is liable to a maximum penalty of a fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for six months.

A non-local vessel was found gill netting at the waters off the east of the Soko Islands on September 12. Two Mainland fishermen on the vessel, a 54-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman, were arrested by AFCD enforcement staff with the assistance from the Marine Police. The two defendants were each fined $500 at the Eastern Magistrates' Courts yesterday (September 13). Their nets were confiscated and the vessel and the defendants were arranged to be repatriated to the Mainland.

An AFCD spokesman said that Cap 171 is to pursue the sustainable development of the fishing industry through limiting entry of new fishing vessels, restriction of fishing with the use or aid of non-fishing vessels and prohibition of fishing with the use or aid of non-local fishing vessels. The departments concerned will strengthen the enforcement of the various relevant legislations to prevent the unauthorised entry of fishing vessels from outside the territory for illegal fishing, and will continue to carry out joint operations to tackle illegal activities where necessary.

Lucy Towers

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