In troubled waters: 10 Chinese vessels found fishing illegally in Maharashtra

The investigation into the case began on Monday, and more than 200 crew members on board are being called for questioning to decide the course of action.
Ten Chinese fishing vessels, which sought “emergency shelter” in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra during Cyclone Vayu, are under the Centre’s scanner for allegedly fishing illegally in Indian waters .(Ganesh Nakhawa)
Ten Chinese fishing vessels, which sought “emergency shelter” in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra during Cyclone Vayu, are under the Centre’s scanner for allegedly fishing illegally in Indian waters .(Ganesh Nakhawa)
Published on Jun 20, 2019 02:22 AM IST
Copy Link
Mumbai | By

Ten Chinese fishing vessels, which sought “emergency shelter” in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra during Cyclone Vayu, are under the Centre’s scanner for allegedly fishing illegally in Indian waters . The investigation into the case began on Monday, and more than 200 crew members on board are being called for questioning to decide the course of action.

According to the Indian authorities, the boats belong to the Fu Yuan Yu fleet, owned by Dongxinglong Ocean Fishing Company Ltd, based in Fu Zhou, Fujian province in China, and had entered the Indian waters on June 7, after taking permission from the Indian Coast Guard. However, on June 9, local fishermen complained that they were involved in fishing activities. “Shelter can’t be denied during cyclone emergencies like Cyclone Vayu. Using this opportunity, the 10 vessels got involved in illegal operations within India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) – coastal waters where a country can claim exclusive rights for fishing and other economic activities,” said a senior official from the department of fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. “The matter is being investigated through agencies and the Coast Guard. Deterrent action will be taken against all 10 vessels under violations of the Maritime Zones of India (Regulation) of Fishing by Foreign Vessels Act, 1981.”

The Indian Coast Guard said two boats have been brought to the Dabhol creek for further investigation, while the remaining eight vessels are anchored two nautical miles off the coast.

These were the only trawlers fishing, amid the monsoon restriction. Ten vessels can fish around 80,000 tonnes of marine life in a month.

Ganesh B Nakhawa, chairman, National Purse Seine Fishermen Welfare Association, said the boats are equipped with 500,000 KW of LED lights for purse seine, squid jigging and pelagic trawling. “The fleet also has other damaging illegal gear on board such as drifting gill nets, bottom trawl nets and dolphin attracting devices etc. Such vessels are banned worldwide by many fisheries commission and are under investigation of many international agencies,” he said. “The crew hails from Indonesia, Philippines and China. Of the 37 crew members of the two vessels who were questioned, the passports of 19 have expired. These vessels are depleting the Indian EEZ of important fish such as tuna, marlins, squids, mackerels and also causing damage to the ecology by targeting protected marine species such as sharks, turtles and dolphins.” Rajendra Jadhav, joint commissioner, Maharashtra fisheries department, said, “After confirming the Chinese trawlers were carrying out fishing activity in EEZ off the Maharashtra coast, we wrote a detailed letter to the Centre. The Centre further directed all agencies to take action. The fishermen said they had come for shelter, but fishing in EEZ area is illegal for international vessels. We are keeping a close watch on them.”

An Indian Coast Guard official said, “Apart from just fishery related violations, we are investigating the nationality of these fishermen, their documents, proper customs clearance and other suspected threats.”

HT has a copy of letters issued by the Centre and Intelligence Bureau ordering a probe,

Fu Yuan Yu vessels have been named in illegal fishing cases in the past.

According to the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) Risk Intelligence, these vessels have been involved in illegal fishing for tuna in the southern Indian Ocean and South African waters in 2016.

“Very little is known about the Chinese company, its ownership, management, movements and activities of the “Fu Yuan Yu” fleet in the high seas,” read a report by IUU Risk Intelligence from May 29, 2016.

Meanwhile, HT found the Chinese company that owns the vessels did not have a website or a functional telephone number listed on international data portals with details of the vessels.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Badri Chatterjee is an environment correspondent at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He writes about environment issues - air, water and noise pollution, climate change - weather, wildlife - forests, marine and mangrove conservation

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Sachin Vaze. (PTI)

    Court refuses bail to Sachin Vaze, calls him highly influential

    A special court last week rejected dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Vaze's bail in the money laundering case against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh. Special judge Rahul Rokade referred to Vaze's statement to the Enforcement Directorate probing the money laundering allegations, saying Deshmukh allegedly gave him a list of 1,750 bars and restaurants and asked him to collect 3,00,000 from each for allowing them to operate beyond restricted time and occupancy in the pandemic situation.

  • Santosh Kumar Sahu and his wife Munni on their new vehicle.

    Beggar buys 90,000 bike after wife complains of backache, spends life savings

    In a heartwarming incident, Santosh Kumar Sahu - a beggar from Chhindwara district in Madhya Pradesh - bought a moped for his wife Munni. The bike is worth 90,000. Santosh told news agency ANI he got the bike because his wife complained about a backache from sitting on the tricycle he owned earlier. "Now we can now go to Seoni, Itarsi, Bhopal, Indore," he told news agency ANI.

  •  (HT)

    Max temp in Delhi to remain below normal after fresh thunderstorm

    The maximum temperature in Delhi is expected to remain below normal after a fresh thunderstorm. The India Meteorological Department data showed Delhi received 14.6 mm of rainfall till 8:30 am. The fresh thunderstorm was also a result of an active western disturbance, resulting in wind speeds touching around 50 to 60 km per hour around midnight. The thunderstorm began around 11 pm across Delhi and National Capital Region and continued till around 3 am.

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to visit Karnataka's Mysuru to lead celebrations on the upcoming International Yoga Day. (Representative Image)

    PM Modi to lead International Yoga Day celebrations in Mysuru on June 21

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the main event of the eighth International Day of Yoga celebrations on June 21 in Mysuru, Karnataka. As this Yoga day is falling in the "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav" year, the Ayush Ministry has also planned to observe IDY at 75 iconic locations across the country and is focusing on branding India on a global scale.

  • A Hindu temple-like architectural design was discovered underneath an old mosque near Mangaluru last month. (ANI image)

    VHP leader hints at 'Ram Mandir-like campaign' in Mangaluru

    After a temple-like structure was found underneath an old mosque on the outskirts of Karnataka's Mangaluru, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader has hinted at the possibility of a "Ram Mandir-like campaign" and vowed to continue the legal fight for the premises. A Hindu temple-like architectural structure was discovered in April during the renovation work at Juma Masjid in Malali, on the outskirts of Mangaluru. All Hindus here strongly believe there was definitely a Hindu god.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, May 24, 2022