Chinese-flagged fishing vessel arrested off Liberia

Chinese-flagged fishing vessel Guo Ji 809 was arrested on a charge of illegal fishing by the Liberian Coast Guard on January 2nd, with the assistance of the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd.

Fishing without a Liberian fishing licence carries a fine of up to $1m.

Sea Shepherd’s vessel Sam Simon detected the Chinese vessel by radar as it navigated Liberian waters at a speed which indicated trawling activity. A Liberian Coast Guard Boarding Team mobilized and found the vessel had just retrieved a trawl net. The vessel had been issued a Liberian fishing license, but the license had expired on December 31st 2017. The Guo Ji 809 had continued to fish into the new year, both on January 1 and 2, allegedly against the advice of the Liberian Fisheries Observer on board, who admitted that the vessel was actively engaged in fishing.

The Guo Ji 809 was placed under arrest and has been detained in the port of Monrovia awaiting prosecution.