CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX - Two Portugese fishing boats have been seized off the East Coast just outside of Canada's 200-mile limit. The two boats were allegedly fishing for cod, a species under moratorium, sources at the federal Fisheries Department told the Canadian Press today. An enforcement action has been under way since Monday involving the navy frigate HMCS Montreal. New rules give Canada the right to seize vessels outside the economic zone if it suspects illegal activity. Officials at the navy's public affairs office confirmed the Montreal was involved in the arrests, but said the warship only played a supporting role. It helped fisheries officers board the suspect boats. The source said that as boarding parties approached one vessel it signalled that it had lost its net. The navy said a coast guard ship is trying to recover the net for evidence. It's not clear whether the boats were on their way to a Canadian port or if their catch has been confiscated. The names of the vessels were not released.
Two Portugese fishing boats have been seized off the East Coast just outside of Canada's 200-mile limit.
Canada boards vessels accused of illegal fishing Last Updated Thu, 06 May 2004 18:57:30 OTTAWA - Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan confirmed that Canadian officials boarded five vessels this week accused of illegal fishing off the East Coast, just outside Canada's 200-mile limit. The Portuguese vessel Aveirense was one of the ships boarded The boats, at least two from Portugal, are accused of fishing for cod, a species currently protected by a moratorium. Three coast guard vessels and one navy frigate was involved in the confrontation on the high seas, Regan said. Regan said the vessels were boarded and inspected this week as a result of special enforcement on the high seas. He said two citations were issued against one of the Portuguese vessels for failure to wait 30 minutes before retrieving gear and for fishing for species under moratorium. Regan said officials want to further inspect the Portuguese vessel. He said officials believe evidence was destroyed or tampered with and he said he asked the Portuguese government and the European Union for permission to bring the ship to a Canadian port. Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham says he's called in the Belgian and Portuguese ambassadors about the incident. Under new rules, Canada has the right to seize vessels outside the economic zone if it suspects illegal activity. "Foreign overfishing by rogue ships and their owners is unacceptable to Canadians, to this government and to me as Prime Minister," Prime Minister Paul Martin said in a statement. Regan also announced that the federal government will spend an additional $15 million to fight illegal fishing. "It is our hope that harassing these international modern-day pirates on the sea with further boardings and inspections …will help keep them away from the [fish]." Regan said the money will be used to expand patrols — from one vessel to three, for round-the-clock sea patrols and to step up boarding activities on foreign trawlers. But Conservative leader Stephen Harper said the government's tough new approach to protecting the fishery is just playing politics before an election. "I think this is a pre-election show and if they were serious about this as a policy they would have established it as a practice over the last several years," Harper said. Regan said the measures have nothing to do with electioneering and that the government has been working on new action for "some time." Written by CBC News Online staff
Canadá: Secretário de Estado desmente apresamento de barcosO secretário de Estado das Pescas, Luís Frazão Gomes, recusa a existência de embarcações portuguesas apresadas ao largo da Terra Nova, no Canadá. Em declarações à Rádio Renascença, o governante desmentiu as informações transmitidas pelo Governo canadiano esta quinta-feira, garantindo que a intercepção dos barcos seria ilegal, já que se encontram em águas internacionais. De acordo com Frazão Gomes, três barcos de pesca foram inspeccionados pelas autoridades canadianas quando laboravam numa zona regulamentada pelas regras da Organização de Pesca do Atlântico Norte (NAFO na sigla inglesa), que inclui países da União Europeia e o Canadá. Os inspectores canadianos terão encontrado apenas uma «presumível infracção» numa das embarcações, tendo solicitado uma fiscalização a inspectores comunitários «independentes», adiantou o governante, acrescentando que «não se confirmou a presunção de existência de pesca dirigida a espécies interditas», que alegavam os inspectores canadianos. O armador das embarcações, Silva Pereira, em declarações à SIC Notícias, tinha já afirmado que as acusações das autoridades do Canadá eram uma «pura mentira».
FROM CANADIAN PRESS ST. JOHN'S, Nfld.—Fisheries officers yesterday unfurled a net scooped from the ocean bottom after a 30-hour search that they say is irrefutable proof a Portuguese vessel fished illegally just outside Canadian waters. Rotting cod, American plaice and red fish — all species under moratoria — poked through the net the officials say was cut from the Brites early May 4, as fisheries inspectors boarded the trawler on the Grand Banks. "It makes me sick to my stomach," said Canada's Natural Resources Minister John Efford. The net had mesh openings 107 millimetres (4 inches) wide. The smallest permitted opening under international rules to protect threatened species is 130 millimetres (5 inches). Brites was one of seven ships inspected last week on the Grand Banks just outside Canada's 200-mile economic zone. There was no evidence of illegal fishing on five but another Portuguese vessel Aveirense was cited for two violations, including fishing banned species. Under North American Fisheries Organization rules, authorities must notify a captain his ship is about to be boarded. "By the time we got on board (Brites), the net had disappeared," said Wayne Follett, regional fisheries director general in Newfoundland. "It was like looking for a needle in a haystack," Coast Guard commissioner John Adam said. The cables appeared cut clean, not torn off as Brites captain claimed; 65 per cent of the net catch was moratorium species. Canada is waiting for Portugal's official response to this evidence.