Maldives calls for IUU investigation of vessel under MSC assessment

Authorities are asking for information on a month-long fishing trip of the vessel for potential illegal fishing in the country.

The Maldives’ Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (MoFA) reported that a fishing vessel from the Echebastar Fleet SLU -- currently under Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment -- has “potentially been engaged in illegal fishing activities” in Maldives.

According to an assessment of data collected through a satellite automatic identification system, a total 432 vessels were identified to be engaging in potentially illegal fishing activities in the past two years.

“The most concerning of all these violations was the fishing vessel Alakrana, part of the Echebastar Fleet SLU, as the fleet is currently in the process of seeking MSC for its Indian Ocean Tuna Commission area,” a document issued by the ministry reads.

“Although this vessel is authorized to operate in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission area, evidence on hand suggests that the vessel has potentially been engaged in illegal fishing activities in Maldivian waters.”

The Maldivian ministry has requested the flag state of the vessel to conduct an official investigation into the potential illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing infringement, and data and logbook information for the Alakrana’s fishing trip from Dec. 11, 2016, to Jan. 12, 2017.

Maldivian authorities believe the investigation is now underway.

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