Chinese boat, crew detained for fishing illegally near Taiwan

Taipei-A Chinese fishing boat was seized and its 13 crew members were detained Tuesday, after they were caught fishing illegally near Pengjia Islet off the coast of Keelung, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Wednesday.

The Keelung branch of the CGA said it received a report Tuesday morning that a Chinese ship had intruded into Taiwan waters, 14 nautical miles (25.93 kilometers) northeast of the islet.

At around 1 p.m. Tuesday, a CGA vessel was dispatched to a location 16 nautical miles northeast of Pengjia, where the coast guard officers recorded video footage of the Chinese trawler fishing illegally, with its name and number painted over.

When CGA vessel approached and requested an inspection, the trawler turned around and attempted to flee, but the coast guard gave chase and intercepted the fishing boat, the CGA said.

Coast guard officers then boarded the fishing boat and found about 2,000 kilograms of live fish onboard, which they tossed back into the sea, CGA said.

The trawler was escorted to Zhengbin fishing port in Keelung, and the 13 crew members were detained, pending further investigation, the CGA said.

The trawler has been seized and its nets and other gear have been confiscated, in accordance with the law, the CGA said, adding that the maximum fine for illegal fishing in Taiwan waters is NT$2.4 million (US$84,200).

The Chinese fishing boat, later identified as the "Min Jin Yu 05369," departed from a fishing port in Jinjiang City in China's Fujian Province on March 19, according to the CGA.

The boat entered the waters near Pengjia Islet in the early hours of Tuesday amid inclement weather and began casting driftnets in the area, the CGA said.

Pengjia Islet, which lies just over 30 nautical miles north of Keelung, is known to be rich in marine resources.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel