Monday, November 10, 2008

Coast Guard, Cook Islands Ministry of Fisheries seize shark fins

The eco enforcement winds of change begin slowly at times.

15lbs of sharks fin? It's a start.

With the enaction of the Shiprider Agreement the US Coast Guard will now be conducting vessel boardings all over the planet. Last week in the Cook Islands the 71-foot fishing vessel Pacific Horizon, home ported in San Diego, Calif was found to have 15lbs of dried and illegal sharks fin on board.

While this bust is a literal "drop in the bucket" it is the beginning of legal enforcement in areas of the world that have no navy to patrol protected areas and fisheries:

HONOLULU — U.S. Coast Guard boarding team members seized 15 pounds of shark fins aboard a fishing vessel in the Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Thursday at approximately 5 p.m.

A Cook Islands Ministry of Fisheries law enforcement officer and a boarding team from the Coast Guard Cutter Walnut, a 225-foot buoy tender home ported here, conducted a fishing vessel inspection Thursday approximately 2,200 miles south of Hawaii in accordance with the new bilateral law enforcement agreement with the Cook Islands.

It is a violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996 to have shark fins aboard any U.S. vessel. The seized fins are aboard the Walnut as evidence and will be transferred to National Marine Fisheries Service specialists who will determine if a formal Notice of Violation (NOVA) will be issued.

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