Ghanaian authorities have fined owners of a Chinese vessel that engaged in illegal fishing in the country’s waters.
Owners of the fishing vessel, Lu Rong Yuan Yu 956 will have to pay a $1 million fine for illegal fishing and additional $22, 700 (GHc124,000) for having fish onboard.
According to local news outlet CITI FM reporting, the fishing vessel was arrested offshore Ghana’s Cape-3-point in June this year.
27 persons comprising 22 Ghanaians and five Chinese nationals were onboard the vessel.
Ghana decided to drop charges against the vessel owners after they agreed to pay the fine, opting for an out of court settlement.
The owners now have 30 days to make full payment.
Local media outlet Kasapa FM reported that “Some of the infractions found onboard the vessel includes 405 cartons and 864 slabs of frozen mixed pelagic fish species generally below the minimum landing size, non-logging of catch on board and undersized mesh with mesh sizes of less than the approved 60mm.”
In the past West African countries have engaged in detaining eight Chinese ships for fishing illegally.
But often the boats’ owners are subjected to millions of dollars in fines.
A recent study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science estimated West Africa’s annual losses from illegal and unregulated fishing at $2.3 billion.
West Africa has some the richest waters in the world. Fish stocks however are being depleted due to activities of industrial trawlers.
Some of these trawlers operate illegally.