The Palau government filed on Dec. 2 a civil action suit against the owner of seized Philippine fishing vessel suspected of conducting illegal fishing in the nation's waters.
Civil Action No. 16-112 seeks forfeiture of vessel Gene 8, with the government also asking the court to order the vessel to pay a fine for illegally fishing in Palau waters.
Palau seeks court order to take the fishing vessel found within its waters on Nov.18.
“The listed property is subject to forfeiture as being used in illegal fishing activity specifically fishing in Palau’s territorial waters without a license,” the court document stated.
The Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) office in a press statement said that the capture of the vessel is another example of the overwhelming need to increase the protection of Palau's EEZ against the ever-growing threat of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing in our waters. “
According to the Fisheries Forum Agency (FFA) Pacific nations lose around $152 million in revenue from IUU.
“Not only is illegal fishing stealing financial resources from Palau but it threatens our food security as well. The Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act is a way to effectively combat these illegal acts,” the statement further added.
The PNMS said that the 135.32 tonnage vessel was 36.29 Meters and determined to be a "Fish Carrier" vessel. Fish carriers are smaller than "Mother Ships" otherwise known as "Factory Ships" which can be up to 240 tonnes but serve the same purpose of collecting fish from smaller fishing vessels and transporting them to port.
On November 18, PSS Remeliik stopped and boarded the foreign fishing vessel found in Palau’s EEZ.
The boat owner retained a lawyer in Palau to settle the matter but a settlement was not reached.
It was learned that the boat owner claimed that the vessel was not fishing in Palau’s EEZ but was in the nation’s waters because the boat suffered an engine trouble.
The PNMS press statement added that it has been largest vessel that Palau's Division of Marine Law has captured thus far.