‘Sustainably-Certified’ Shrimp Trawler Arrested by Liberian Coast Guard with Assistance from Sea Shepherd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LIBERIA- March 20, 2017

‘Sustainably-Certified’ Shrimp Trawler Arrested by Liberian Coast Guard with Assistance from Sea Shepherd  

On March 13th the Nigerian-flagged fishing vessel (F/V) Star Shrimper XXV was boarded in waters belonging to the West African state of Liberia by the Liberian Coast Guard, assisted by Sea Shepherd crew and Israeli maritime advisors and conservationists The vessel was actively fishing without a Liberian fishing license, 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 trawler was detected by radar as it entered Liberian waters from the waters of Cote d’Ivoire at a speed that indicated trawling activity. A Liberian Coast Guard boarding team quickly mobilized on board the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Bob Barker and proceeded to the target, where the vessel was discovered actively fishing with its trawling gear in the water.  

The Star Shrimper XXV is part of a fleet of fishing vessels owned by Atlantic Shrimpers Ltd that is certified by the US Department of State to export shrimp to the United States because of the use of measures to reduce by-catch including turtles. The fleet is currently certified under "Friend of the Sea" criteria for sustainable fishing of Black Tiger Prawns (www.primstar.com/fishing.php), however the guidelines require vessels to comply with legal requirements including valid fishing permits (www.friendofthesea.org).

“It is not without irony that while the Star Shrimper XXV had by-catch limitation devices like Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) on board (which they were not using during the time of their arrest), they deliberately entered Liberian waters to fish illegally without a license. Had it not been for the intervention of the Liberian Coast Guard and Sea Shepherd, the illegal catch of the Star Shrimper XXV would have been sold in American and European markets as ‘sustainably-certified’. Sea Shepherd Global urges the United States Department of State to seriously review their import agreement with Atlantic Shrimpers Limited”said Campaign Leader Peter Hammarstedt. 

Since February 2017, under the name Operation Sola Stella, Sea Shepherd has been assisting the Government of Liberia to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by providing the use of the M/Y Bob Barker as a civilian offshore patrol vessel operating in Liberian waters, under the direction of the Liberian Ministry of National Defense. The patrols have thus far resulted in the arrest of four IUU fishing vessels. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing, which accounts for up to 40% of the fish caught in West African waters.  

“Since the outset of the Liberian Ministry of National Defense’s cooperation with Sea Shepherd, I have stated that the time for illegal fishing is over. With the arrest of four IUU fishing vessels in such a short period of time, the Liberian Coast Guard is executing my zero tolerance policy on illegal fishing, taking back our seas from poachers who have come in to our waters for too long”, said Honorable Minister Brownie Samukai, Minister of National Defense for Liberia.  

In 2016 Sea Shepherd partnered with the government of Gabon for Operation Albacore, 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 Sola Stella is a continuation of Sea Shepherd Global’s commitment to work with national governments to help end IUU fishing. 

More about Operation Sola Stella: http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/news-and-commentary/news/sea-shepherd-launches-operation-sola-stella-with-the-liberian-ministry-of-national-defense.html

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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 

Hi-res images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4f25o309fl7wtir/AADqZEzx87hFlF2KDn5L3fpAa?dl=0

Photo Captions/Credits:  

170313-AG-AboutToBoardTheStarShrimperXXV-03614.jpg   
Liberian Coast Guard prepares to board the Star Shrimper XXV. Copyright Alejandre Gimeno/Sea Shepherd Global 

170313-AG-ReadyToBoardTheStarShrimperXXV-03589.jpg 
The Star Shrimper XXV fishing in Liberian waters. Copyright Alejandre Gimeno/Sea Shepherd Global 

170313-MR-Approach-005-6259.jpg 
Liberian Coast Guard approach the Star Shrimper XXVCopyright Michael Rauch/Sea Shepherd Global 

170313-MR-Bridge-007-6306.jpg 
Liberian Coast Guard on the bridge of the Star Shrimper XXV. Copyright Michael Rauch/Sea Shepherd Global 

170313-MR-Deck-029-6479.jpg 
Liberian Coast Guard on the deck of the Star Shrimper XXVwith Sea Shepherd's small boats in the background. Copyright Michael Rauch/Sea Shepherd Global 

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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