Sea Shepherd Celebrates New Year with Arrest of Illegal Fishing Vessel in Liberia


January 5, 2018

On January 2nd, the Chinese-flagged fishing vessel (F/V) Guo Ji 809 was arrested by the Liberian Coast Guard -- with the assistance of the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd -- for illegal fishing in waters belonging to the West African state of Liberia.

Sea Shepherd’s vessel M/Y Sam Simon detected the fishing vessel by radar as it navigated Liberian waters at a speed indicating trawling activity. A Liberian Coast Guard Boarding Team quickly mobilized on board the M/Y Sam Simon and proceeded to the target where it was discovered that the vessel had just retrieved a trawl net. On deck was wet and unsecured fishing gear, fresh and alive fish, and crew dressed in wet weather gear used for fishing.

On inspection it was determined that the vessel had been issued a Liberian fishing license but that this licensed had expired on the 31st of December 2017.  The Guo Ji 809 had continued to fish into the new year, both on the 1st and 2nd of January, allegedly against the advice of the Liberian Fisheries Observer on board, who admitted that the vessel was actively engaged in fishing.

Fishing without a Liberian fishing license is the most serious offense under the Liberian Fisheries Regulations, for which the penalty can be a fine up to one million United States dollars (USD $1,000,000). The F/V Guo Ji 809 was placed under arrest and is now detained in the port of Monrovia awaiting prosecution.

“The arrest of the Guo Ji 809 highlights the need for constant vigilance at sea. Although Operation Sola Stella has brought an end to incursions of unlicensed foreign industrial fishing vessels, we must be equally invested in controlling vessels that are, or have been, licensed to fish in Liberia”, said Honorable Minister Brownie Samukai, Minister of National Defense for Liberia.

Since February 2017, under the name Operation Sola Stella, Sea Shepherd been assisting the government of Liberia to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by providing the use of a civilian offshore patrol vessel operating in Liberian waters, under the direction of the Liberian Ministry of National Defense. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing, which accounts for up to 40% of the fish caught in West African waters.

“Since Operation Sola Stella commenced almost one year ago, Sea Shepherd has assisted the Liberian Coast Guard to arrest eight fishing vessels involved in illegal fishing. What a tremendous start to the new year, that yet another poacher has been brought to justice thanks to the incredible partnership between Sea Shepherd and the Ministry of National Defense in Liberia”, said Campaign Leader Peter Hammarstedt.

In 2016 Sea Shepherd partnered with the government of Gabon for Operation Albacore, resulting in over 80 fishing vessel inspections at sea and the subsequent arrest of five IUU Congolese fishing trawlers and one Spanish long-liner. Operation Sola Stella is a continuation of Sea Shepherd Global’s commitment to work actively with national governments and their law enforcement agencies in the fight against IUU fishing, as recognized through our Voluntary Commitment for the Oceans registered at the June 2017 United Nations Ocean Conference (#OceanAction17190).


Hi-Res Images:

Image captions and credits:

FUJI2557: Sea Shepherd crew assists Liberian Coast Guard to Board Guo Ji 809. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

FUJI2571: Guo Ji 809 arrested with support of Sam Simon. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

FUJI2373: Liberian Coast Guard board Guo Ji 809 with support of Sam Simon. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

FUJI2419: Illegally-caught fish drying on the deck of the Guo Ji 809. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
FUJI2309: Liberian Coast Guard inspects the Guo Ji 809. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

FUJI2432: Liberian Coast Guard arrests the Guo Ji 809. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

FUJI2302: Illegal catch on board the Guo Ji 809. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Ji809-004-DJI-0018: Guo Ji 809 arrested with support of Sea Shepherd ship and small boats. Photo by Thomas Le Coz/Sea Shepherd.

Operation Sola Stella campaign page:

For further information, additional images and interview requests, contact: 
Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global Media Director 
E-mail: 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:


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):


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