The crew of a Sri Lankan registered fishing vessel intercepted on suspicion of fishing illegally in the Seychelles’ waters have been remanded for 14 days by the Seychelles Supreme Court, the Seychelles News Agency reported.
Seven fishermen who were on board the vessel appeared in court on Monday.
The Sri Lankan fishing boat was intercepted by the Seychelles Coast Guard on suspicion of fishing illegally in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Seychelles, according to a joint press statement from the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF) and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) on Friday.
The boat was first spotted by Seychelles Air Force Dornier aircraft during a routine patrol in an area south of Mahe, on Wednesday February 26. On the same day, the Coast Guard Patrol ship Etoile was dispatched to intercept the vessel.
On boarding and inspecting the vessel on Thursday February 27, the Coast Guard boarding team and inspectors from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) observed that the vessel and its crew may have been fishing illegally in the Seychelles waters.
The boat was escorted to Port Victoria and necessary investigation procedures started.
The statement said that this is the first case of suspected illegal fishing recorded in 2020. Last year, seven such cases were investigated by local authorities, resulting in five successful prosecutions. (Colombo Gazette)