6 Feb 2006

Vanuatu Director of Fisheries rejects claims that Chinese vessels fishing illegally

2:48 pm on 6 February 2006

Vanuatu's Director of Fisheries has denied media reports that three Chinese fishing vessels were allowed to fish in the waters of Penama province without valid certification.

The Daily Post newspaper reported that two of the three boats, arrested last month, were without valid fishing licences, and that by allowing them to fish illegally, the Director, Moses Amos, was setting a precedent.

However, Mr Amos says the vessels did have valid licences but had violated the condition that the licenses be carried on board.

He says the captains of the three vessels pleaded guilty to the violation and were fined over 6-thousand US dollars each.

But Mr Amos says Daily Post journalist Lora Lini misquoted him.

"Something like, I had confirmed to Daily Post or something that two of the licences had expired. Lora was saying that even though two of the vessels had expired licences, that was not taken into account - something like that. So I had to respond and clarify that the charge was not about illegal fishing, because three of the vessels had licences."

Vanuatu's Director of Fisheries, Moses Amos