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Marshalls 201 Fined USD 500,000 For Illegal Tuna Fishing

The owner of a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel has paid a $500,000 fine to the U.S. government for illegally fishing in US protected waters in the Pacific earlier this month. The owner of the purse seine vessel Marshalls 201 has paid the fine for violating the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for fishing illegally in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the US adjacent to the Howland and Baker Islands.The Marshalls 201 was observed, on September 9th 2006, inside an Exclusive Economic Zone near Howland and Baker islands, where U.S. National Wildlife Refuges are located.

A Coast Guard
air crew spotted the vessel
about 2 miles inside the EEZ and alerted the crew of the 225-foot Coast Guard buoy tender Walnut based in Honolulu, which chased the purse seiner for four hours before managing to intercept the vessel with the intent to board.The Marshalls 201 finally stopped. The crew went on board the vessel and corroborated the illegal fishing operation. It was determined that the crew caught more than 120 tons of tuna that day.

U.S. officials say the ship’
s owner paid the US$ 500,000
fine this month and agreed to other penalties.

Howland and Baker islands are uninhabited coral atolls located approximately 1,700 miles southwest of Honolulu. They are part of the Phoenix Islands
.