Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Vessels caught for illegal catch

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): August 26, 2002 - Two fishing vessels have been detained in Pohnpei following their seizure within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Federated States of Micronesia for illegal fishing and transshipping.

The vessels classified as Purse Seiner, "Sun-Flower 888" and Fish Carrier, "Prim Rose 888," are registered to the Frabelle Fishing Corporation in the Philippines. Both vessels were seized near the border of Papua New Guinea and Kapingamarangi - Pohnpei's southernmost atoll on the evening of August 19 by the FSS Micronesia.

The FSS Micronesia was dispatched immediately that evening after the National Surveillance Wing locked on to the vessels inside the EEZ zone. Both unlicensed vessels were seized and escorted to Pohnpei port to await charges.

According to Acting Secretary of FSM's Department of Justice, Anthony Welch, discussions are under way with representatives of Frabelle Fishing Corporation on the violations of FSM's Fishing Laws.

Welch went on to commended the National Surveillance Wing for their "hard work and dedication to duty" to protect the interest of the FSM. He also thanked Lieutenant Commander Greg Rochester, from the Royal Australian Navy for his assistance and commitment as Advisor to the National Maritime Surveillance.

Authorities had tracked the vessels on the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) for several months since their activities frequently crossed into FSM's EEZ. The vast expanse allowed the vessels time enough to exit the Zones before the FSM's Patrol boats reach them. The tide turned on August 19, when FSS Micronesia caught the vessels inside the Zone illegally fishing and transporting.

The FSM's EEZ is one of the largest in the Western and Central Pacific region encompassing an area of 1,149,509 square miles. This EEZ provides the nation's main economic natural resource, the Fishing Industry, which annually generates over $10 million in commercial fishing and licensing fees.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356