4 Mar 2010

Solomons Fisheries Director gave wrong informaton, says Minister

2:40 pm on 4 March 2010

The Solomon Islands Minister for Fisheries, Nollen Leni, has clarified circumstances surrounding the detention of two Chinese vessels charged over alleged illegal fishing.

Skippers of the vessels appeared in Court in Honiara this week, while the 13 members of both crews are detained by Immigration officials, on bail of 1,800 US dollars per person.

The boats had been detained since January, but the Minister announced last week they were to be released, after he was informed by the Director of Fisheries, Eddie Oirehaka, that he had issued the vessels a comfort letter, giving them temporary approval to fish.

However, Mr Leni says that it has since transpired the Director was wrong to give such approval.

"Unfortunately, because of that misinformation, my release of the boats was not correct. The police continue to detain the ships because they don't have the work permit and the visa to enter Solomon Islands waters."

Nollen Leni