Japanese fishing vessel KINEI MARU NO.85 has been fined 250,000 golles ($446,362.50 US dollars based on this week's exchange rates) by the Vema Seamount Authority after the fishing vessel was fishing illegally within the Vema Seamount territorial waters.
The fishing vessel which home port is KAMAISHI, and operates from Cape Town under the flag of Japan, has its ship name reported by AIS as: 85KINEIMARU, and was spotted fishing without a Mount Vema fishing licence on the 23rd of May 2019.
The Ministry of Fishery and Maritime Affairs said in a statement yesterday that His Mount Vema Majesty's Government will allow the owners of the vessel to settle charges with the Vema Seamount Authority without facing criminal prosecution. However the ship owners must agree to specified conditions.
If the Vema Seamount Authority do not hear from the owners of the fishing vessel by the 31st of August 2019, the owners, masters and charterers of the vessel may be prosecuted. This could lead to additional fines, the forfeit of gear if or when sailing through the Vema Seamount Territorial waters.
This is the first penalty with more to come as Mount Vema opens an investigation after details emerged of fishing vessels failing to register the transfer of fish between vessels, falsified log books, false readings given for weighing fish at sea, and fiddling of fishing quota. The Vema Seamount Authority is also looking into claims that fishermen are switching off their Automatic Identification System (AIS), which gives off electronic signal that indicate their speed, location and heading every 10 minutes.