Dar es Salaam: Severe judgment in illegal fishing case as warning
After three years the investigations are finally finished. Tanzania’s High Court pronounced sentences on the accused captain and one agent of the fish trawler MV TAWARIQ. Judge Augustine Mwarija sentenced the captain to 30 years imprisonment or a payment of 21 billion TZS.
The accused foreigners from China had to spend three years in jail before the High Court finally pronounced sentence on them. The judges passed a severe judgment. The ship’s captain Hsu Chin Tai was sentenced to to 30 years imprisonment in total if he fails to pay 21 bn TZS (about 13.23 m US$). He was sentenced on the first count to 20 years for fishing illegally in Tanzania’s EEZ. On the second count judge Mwarija sentenced Tai to ten more years for polluting the environment by dumping fish remains and fuel in the sea. Beside the captain Tai, the ship’s engineer Zhao Hanguing was also sentenced to 20 years or the payment of 1 bn TZS (630.000 US$).
Furthermore judge Mwarija pronounced that the fishing vessel passes into Tanzania’s possession. The Taiwanese trawler will be confiscated under section 18 (1) of the fishing Act. According to Daily News Tanzania, he said:
The fishing boat used fake names and permits. It will now be confiscated.
While the arrest of the fishing crew can be seen as a success of the joint naval patrols off the East and Southern African coastlines, the pronounced sentences of the Tanzanian High Court are designed to be a powerful deterrent. They are warnings to any other foreign owned fishing company sending their fishing fleet into Tanzanian territorial waters for the purpose of illegal fishing. Tanzanian officials are ready to tackle illegal fishing activities with all relentlessness.