Sea Shepherd Assists Gabonese Navy and Fisheries Enforcement in the Arrest of Two Illegal Fishing Trawlers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 14, 2017

One week after the announcement of Operation Albacore II , a joint operation between Sea Shepherd and the Gabonese government to tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in Central West Africa, the crew of the Sea Shepherd ship,  Bob Barker , has assisted Gabonese authorities in the arrest of two illegal fishing trawlers.

The two trawlers, Haixin 23 and Haixin 28 , flagged to China, were intercepted when five fishing vessels were observed by radar crossing the border between the Republic of Gabon and the Republic of Congo under the cover of darkness, with their fishing gear deployed and actively fishing.

Armed Gabonese marines (Marine Nationale) boarded and secured the two trawlers without injury or incident as Fisheries Enforcement officers (ANPA) inspected the vessels. The other three trawlers escaped across the border into Congolese waters.

Upon inspection, it was discovered that neither vessel was licensed to fish in Gabonese waters, and one of the trawlers did not even have a license to fish in Congolese waters.

After a 30-hour transit, the two vessels, escorted by the Bob Barker , have been handed over to local authorities in Port Gentil to commence further investigation and the necessary legal proceedings.

The two 45-meter-long trawlers, with crew made up of Chinese and Congolese nationals, are the first arrests undertaken as a part of  Operation Albacore II .

Campaign Leader Captain Peter Hammarstedt said, “The arrest of these two vessels at the start of this campaign shows the importance of governments and NGOs working together to secure the seas from poachers. We are immensely proud of our collaboration with Gabon which has resulted in this early victory for law and order”.

About Operation Albacore

In 2016 Sea Shepherd partnered with the government of Gabon for the first Operation Albacore campaign, resulting in over 40 fishing vessel inspections at sea and the subsequent arrest of three IUU Congolese fishing trawlers and one Spanish long-liner. Operation Albacore re-commenced in 2017 with the arrival of the Bob Barker in Gabon on the 5th of July.

The campaign aims to expand existing monitoring, control and surveillance measures; to detect and deter IUU fishing activity while also monitoring legal compliance by licensed fishing operators. Throughout the 2017 tuna fishing season, Marine Nationale and officers with the ANPA will be stationed on board the  Bob Barker , working alongside Sea Shepherd crew to patrol Gabon's sovereign waters. Admiral Giuseppe de Giorgi, the former Chief of the Italian Navy, is also crewing on the Bob Barker with Sea Shepherd, contributing his experience and skills to increase law enforcement capability in the region.

It is estimated that between 11 and 26 million tons of fish are caught globally through IUU fishing every year.  Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and up to 40% of the fish caught in West and Central West African waters is caught by criminal operators.

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More about Operation Albacore: https://www.seashepherdglobal.org/our-campaigns/operation-albacore/

Hi-RES press images: http://minerva.seashepherdglobal.org:8080/share.cgi?ssid=0xGaF52 

I mage caption (all images by Michael Rauch/Sea Shepherd):

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Gabonese marines secure illegal trawler

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Gabonese fisheries enforcement monitors the retrieval of an illegal trawl net

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Gabonese marines and fisheries enforcement inspect arrested trawler

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Gabonese marines board and secure illegal trawler

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Gabonese marines arrest illegal trawler

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The arrested Haixin 28 and Haixin 23 with crew

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Admiral Giuseppe de Giorgi piloting a Sea Shepherd small boat

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The MY Bob Barker assists Gabonese authorities to make arrest

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Admiral Giuseppe de Giorgi piloting a Sea Shepherd small boat with Gabonese marine

For further information, additional images and interview requests contact:
Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global Media Director
E-mail: heather@seashepherdglobal.org Tel: +339 7719 7742

Sea Shepherd Global

Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit marine conservation movement using innovative tactics and direct action to defend, conserve and protect the worlds oceans and marine wildlife. Founded by Paul Watson in 1977, today Sea Shepherd is a worldwide movement with independent national and regional entities in over 20 countries. With the exception of the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), they are united by a common mission through Sea Shepherd Global, based in Amsterdam, which coordinates communications, logistics and a fleet of five ships to cooperate on campaigns around the world. Sea Shepherd investigates and documents violations of international and national conservation law, and enforces conservation measures where legal authority exists.  For more information, visit: http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/

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About Us

SEA SHEPHERD GLOBAL Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. A selection of press images are available on our Media Site (high-res images and a videos without watermarks available to qualified press on request): http://media.seashepherdglobal.org/

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