3 Dec 2004

Charges laid in alleged illegal Cook Islands fishing case

4:35 pm on 3 December 2004

Charges have been laid against the captain and one of the owners of the United States' tuna longlining ship Adelita which is alleged to have been caught fishing illegally in Cook Island waters.

The vessel was escorted to Avatiu harbour by the police patrol boat Te Kukupa after being spotted by a New Zealand Air Force Orion in the northern waters of the Cooks group.

The Cook Islands News says the owner, Stuart Chikami, has yet to enter pleas on charges filed against him. The charges are illegal use of a fishing vessel, failure to comply with the law, and failure to show fishing gear between November 22 and 23

The same charges are also reported to have been filed against the Adelita Fishing LLC.

The vessel's captain, Harry Burgess, is charged with illegal use of a fishing vessel, illegal fishing, failure to comply with the law, failing to stow fishing gear, furnishing false information and failure to comply with a requirement by an authorised fisheries officer. He has yet to enter pleas.