11 Jul 2013 12:50
WALVIS BAY, 11 JUL (NAMPA) ? Atlantic Pacific Fishing company was fined a total of N.dollars 1 million after dumping fish into the Atlantic Ocean in May this year.
The company?s vessel - MVF Leader L-1339 - was caught red-handed by Fisheries? Observers when it dumped crushed fish and fish products into the ocean through a pipe, a clear contravention of the Marine Resources Act of 2000.
On 15 May 2013, the captain of the vessel, Liu Shunyang, was fined N.dollars 1 200 after the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) obtained information relating to the incident.
However, the vessel was recalled on 29 May 2013 by the MFMR from its fishing waters to conduct further investigations regarding the matter.
Speaking during a media conference here on Thursday, Fisheries Minister Bernhard Esau said the matter between his ministry and Atlantic Pacific Fishing - a subsidiary of Pacific Andes Enterprises who is the employer of the accused (Shunyang) - was settled out of court.
He explained that it did not become necessary to continue with the criminal prosecution, as Atlantic Pacific Fishing cooperated fully with the investigations of the Namibia Police Force, MFMR, Office of the Prosecutor-General and Office of the Attorney-General.
?The parties have recognised that a mutual beneficial commercial settlement as opposed to the criminal case would be in the best interest of the parties and industry.
Therefore, when Atlantic Pacific Fishing approached Government for an out of court settlement, we as Government, having satisfied ourselves that the interest of justice would be served and that the decision would be in the best interest of the fishing industry, were able to advance justification to the PG for her to reconsider her decision to prosecute, which she did, and I announce that the ministry will no longer pursue criminal charges,' said Esau.
The minister explained that Government has satisfied itself that given the lapse of the period involved in the investigation, the costs of the investigation, including expert witnesses and further anticipated time spend in Courts on the matter, it would be best to settle the matter.
As a result, Esau indicated that Government accepted the offered amount of N.dollars 1 million, while attempted bribery charges will be preferred against the Captain and the instance of the ministry as the complaint within 48 hours of signing the agreement.
He added that the amount has already been paid into the State?s Revenue Fund on 25 June 2013.
?We do not condone and tolerate any violation of the licence, quotas, regulations and fishing rights conditions and will continue to enforce the full compliance with the Marine Resources Act,? Esau said.
The minister then urged all persons with any information of any violations to contact the authorities, the observers and inspectors, and to assist Government in protecting the marine resources.
He additionally cautioned that the MFMR will hold fishing right holders liable for the conduct of the vessels, whether Namibian flagged or not.