Kodiak-based Coast Guard intercepts illegal Chinese fishing vessel

A USCGC Alex Haley boarding team boards the fishing vessel Run Da after the vessel was suspected of illegal high seas driftnet fishing in the North Pacific Ocean, 860 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan, June 16, 2018. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)

An illegal fishing vessel was intercepted off the coast of Japan with 80 tons of chum salmon and one ton of squid onboard.

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“Legally, they can go up to about two-and-a-half kilometers. This vessel had almost five times the legal limit of nets,” Captain Darran McLenon, chief of response for the 17th Coast Guard District said.

McLenon says the captain of the vessel Run Da admitted to fishing with driftnets up to 5.6 miles in length.

The crew of the Kodiak-based cutter Alex Haley detained the 164-foot Chinese-flagged fishing vessel with 29 crew onboard on Saturday, June 16. McLenon says they apprehended the vessel in international waters 860 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan.

McLenon says they couldn’t have done it without help from the crew of a Kodiak-based C-130 aircraft which spotted the illegal fishing vessel.

“Because of them finding, detecting this, we were able to vector in the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, which at the time was about 500 miles away and what they did was put boarding officers on board with Chinese ship riders,” McLenon said.

The joint international boarding was conducted in partnership with Chinese Coast Guard officers.

The vessel is suspected of violating the worldwide driftnet moratorium called for by the United Nations General Assembly.

The Run Da and its crew are being escorted back to China for prosecution. McLenon added that this is the first apprehension of a large-scale, high seas driftnet vessel since 2014.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.