New Zealand fishing company Sanford is welcoming news that a Nigerian registered vessel has been detained in Malaysia and 330 tons of toothfish confiscated from it. Sanford is one of only two New Zealand companies permitted to source toothfish from the Ross Sea fishery.
Sanford Chief Operations Officer, Greg Johansson, says the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) fisheries are carefully managed for a reason, and illegal fishing of this species is a threat to conservation efforts.
The seizure reported from Malaysia is considered the biggest by local authorities this year and is reportedly worth around 6.4 million US dollars.
Greg Johansson says Malaysian officials should be congratulated for their work.
“This is an excellent example of the concerted effort that is needed to stomp out the last few remaining IUU, or illegal, unreported or unregulated vessels operating in Antarctic waters. We need more work like this to stop the landing and selling of illegally caught fish irrespective of the species, and the reflagging of pirate vessels almost at will.”
Malaysian authorities say the vessel detained in this case, the “Perlon”, had changed its name and flag several times.
Sanford vessels operating in Antarctic waters are constantly on the lookout for evidence of pirate vessel activity and are grateful for the help of the Royal New Zealand Navy and vessels like those from Sea Shepherd, in trying to track the activities of any pirate vessel. Pirate vessels have never been found operating in the Ross Sea.
“It is part of the CCAMLR licence agreement for the Ross Sea that Sanford vessels will monitor and report any illegal activity they come across. But it takes a collective international effort by all port and flag states to drive these pirate vessels out of business,” says Johansson.
Only two New Zealand fishing companies, including Sanford, are permitted to source toothfish from the Ross Sea fishery. Sanford has two vessels authorized to fish in the Ross Sea fishery: the San Aotea II and the San Aspiring. Other countries with vessels authorized to catch toothfish using long-lines include: Australia, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine and the UK.