Here is a quick recap of some fishing related stories from earlier this week.
THE skipper and mate of Britain’s biggest fishing boat have been given two weeks to pay back almost £1 million gained from illegal fish landings in Denmark.
John Peter Duncan, aged 57, and Jerry Ramsay, aged 51, both of Ollaberry, Shetland, must pay £495,000 each as compensation for landing more than 7,600 tonnes of herring and mackerel in the most serious black fish scam ever to reach court.
Earlier this year both men had admitted breaking European fishing regulations by landing the fish in a Danish port and altering their logbooks to conceal the true figures. The matter came to light when Scottish Fishery Protection Agency (SFPA) officers raided the offices of their Lerwick agents LHD and seized records, comparing them to those held in Denmark.
The government has put a stop to fishing for red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico for the remainder of 2005 because the year’s quota of 10.1 million pounds has already been caught. That means restaurants will have to start importing their grouper, probably from Mexico.
The demand for red grouper – the most popular commercial and recreational Gulf of Mexico catch – is so great that the federal government put annual quotas on the harvest several years ago.
This is the second year in a row that the season has been shut down because the quota was reached.
The marine experts from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) say cod stocks in the North Sea remain well below minimum recommended levels and are advising zero catches of the fish in 2006.
Their report advises further reductions in North Sea plaice and sole and a ban on catching deep-sea sharks as part of a complete overhaul of deep sea fisheries.
During a visit to Scotland last month, EU fisheries commissioner Joe Borg warned that Scots fishermen could be among the hardest-hit when the new quotas are introduced.
This Friday, scientists from ICES will release a report calling for a complete overhaul of deep-sea fisheries. Scientists will recommend that all existing deep-sea fisheries should be cutback to low levels until they can demonstrate that they are sustainable. They will advise zero catch of depleted deep-sea sharks, and they will recommend that no new fisheries for deep-sea fish should be allowed until it can be demonstrated that they are capable of being sustainable.
Since the 1980s, dwindling resources on the continental shelves of the North Atlantic have encouraged the development of fisheries in deeper waters – greater than about 400 m. There has been a tendency for fisheries for species such as anglerfish and Greenland halibut to extend into deeper waters, and new fisheries have developed to target the “new” deepwater species that have been found there. Deepwater species such as the argentine or greater silver smelt (Argentina silus) and roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris), which were previously bycatch species have been targeted within the ICES area for the last two decades. Orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) has been a target species since the early 1990s. Deepwater sharks such as the leafscale gulper shark and Portuguese dogfish have been targeted since the 1980s.
WARNINGS shots fired by a navy patrol boat and customs vessel have been ignored by an Indonesian fishing boat suspected of illegally fishing in Australian waters.
The fishing boat was boarded yesterday by navy and customers personnel after a chase of several hours.
“The (customs vessel) Roebuck Bay first spotted the vessel,” a Customs spokesman said. “It then began pursuing the vessel, which refused to stop.
The boat, with nine Indonesian crew on board, is being towed back to Darwin where the Australian Fisheries Management Authority will conduct an investigation into its involvement in possible illegal fishing.
A high-seas cat and mouse game was played out in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea near Northern Norway on Monday after a Russian trawler resisted a Norwegian Coast Guard arrest order and fled with two Norwegian inspectors who had come on board to inspect it.
Two Norwegians from the Coast Guard vessel KV Tromsø, an officer and a crew member—whose names have not been released by authorities—were still on board when the Elektron refused to follow the Norwegian Coast Guard’s orders to proceed to the northern Norwegian city of Tromsø. The captain of the Norwegian Coast Guard ship, according to Russian news outlets and the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, considered firing upon the Russian trawler.
The Russian trawler Elektron had been stopped and boarded by the Norwegian Coast Guard on Saturday morning in the Svalbard Archipelago in the Barents Sea, near the border of an area where fishing rights are between Russia and Norway are disputed. Norway has in the past claimed that it has full sovereignty over these waters. Russia has claimed the opposite.
A spokesman for the Norwegian Coast Guard said Thursday that the organization is glad that the five-day incident involving the Russian trawler detained for alleged fishing violations and two Norwegian inspectors held on board it has been settled. The inspectors boarded the Elektron as the Norwegian Coast Guard tried to arrest it for violating the fishery protection zone, unilaterally set up by Norway off the Svalbard Islands, north of the Arctic Circle.
At the height of the drama Monday night, the Elektron captain called for Russian ships to come to his aid and said the trawler could take radical action against the Norwegian boats, including deliberately colliding with them.