Source: Stop Illegal Fishing
Author: Sally Frankcom
The owners of the Greko 1 have agreed a 65 000 USD settlement to the Federal Government of Somalia for illegal fishing in Somali waters.
The vessel remains moored in Mombasa port and the illegal catch is to be sold to allow payment of the fine.
Flag State, Belize, has supported the sanctions, and taken decisive action against the vessel in issuing a prohibition from sailing notice which means the vessel is not allowed to leave the port of Mombasa unless it receives expressed authorization from Belize to do so. The issuance of a fishing authorization or license by Belize to the vessel has also been suspended until further notice.
The fishing vessel Greko 1 was spotted, fishing in the Somalia EEZ, by the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR – Operation ATALANTA), which has been operating in the region to prevent piracy since 2008. The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission (DG MARE) analysed the data provided by EU NAVFOR and transmitted it to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission secretariat for further analysis and communication to the relevant national authorities and UNFAO.
Deputy Minister Said Jama, Federal Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources commented, “the Federal Government of Somalia will not tolerate IUU activity by any vessel within the Somali EEZ. I hope this fine sends a signal out that Somalia is serious about protecting its fisheries resources, and will take every step necessary to bring offenders to account. Industrial fishing has an important role to play in rebuilding the Somali economy and Somali livelihoods, and my Ministry remains keen to work with those who respect Somali laws, and protect our marine environment.”
The cooperation between Somalia and Kenya, initiated through the FISH-i Africa Task Force, has been critical for the successful outcome of this case. “Somalia is particularly grateful to the outstanding support and solidarity shown to us by the Kenyan Authorities at every level, who provided a great example to us of inter-Agency cooperation at its best. We are also grateful to the support provided to us by the vessel’s Flag State of Belize. This success comes within just a few months of Somalia becoming a member of the FISH-i-Africa network, through the support of the US Government, and I hope will be followed up by greater cooperation with our FISH-i partners to combat the regional scourge of IUU fishing.”
Per Erik Bergh of Stop Illegal Fishing also highlighted the cooperation demonstrated by all those involved in bringing the Greko 1 to account. “It is very encouraging to see such strong support from the port and flag states when assisting a coastal state in dealing with illegal fishing. FISH-i Africa have been working hard to build strong relationships both regionally and internationally to help facilitate these processes. We are glad that FISH-i Africa has also been able to offer technical expertise to Somali authorities by assisting with the inspection of the Greko 1 and offering legal and technical advice.”