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