Johannesburg, Apr 27 (PTI) Six Chinese fishing trawlers were impounded by South African authorities and made to pay fines for entering their waters without the required permission.
The trawlers were detected entering the South African Exclusive Economic Zone off the Northern Cape coast on April 2 after they were first ordered out of the Namibian waters.
A South African patrol vessel intercepted the trawlers off the Western Cape coast and ordered them to the outer anchorage of the Port of Cape Town.
Inspection by South African authorities found no fish on board and the storage of all fishing gear on board was stored as per the Marine Living Resources Act, said the Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries in a statement.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority had granted permission for the vessels to shelter from adverse weather conditions in Cape Town and later in Port Elizabeth on the East Coast of the country.
Once the fines had been paid, the six trawlers were released and monitored as they finally transited through South African waters last week. The vessels are now on their way home.
The Department did not specify the amount of the fines, but during a previous transgression by three Chinese fishing vessels, fines totalling R1.3 million (approx. Rs52 lakh) were paid after more than 600 tons of squid was found aboard the vehicles.
“South Africa takes seriously and with determination its responsibility to ensure compliance with international and domestic environmental and safety laws designed and implemented to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all users of our oceans,” it had said then. PTI FH ABH ABH