US Coast Guard assists Defence Force to apprehend illegal fishers

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Five French fishermen are currently assisting the local authorities with their investigations after a joint patrol by the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) and US Coast Guard netted a huge haul of illegally caught conch and fish on the weekend.
A release from the ABDF said that an estimated 1763.7 pounds of conch and 100 pounds of fish were confiscated during the joint patrol south of Antigua between April 8 and 9, 2017.
During the collaborative effort, two French fishing vessels were apprehended in Antiguan and Barbudan waters for illegal fishing and transshipping of conch, respectively.
The fishermen, who are likely to be charged for the offences, are believed to be from the neighbouring French territory of Guadeloupe.
“This has been an ongoing issue where we have come across a number of foreign vessels mainly from the French territory of Guadeloupe that have been fishing in Antigua & Barbuda waters, and the Coast Guard, over the years, has made a number of interceptions,” Acting Head of the Coast Guard, Lieutenant Commander Elroy Skerritt, told OBSERVER media yesterday.
“What happened here is that the ABDF Coast Guard had this opportunity to engage the US Coast Guard with a joint patrol where we had a number of persons onboard one of their vessels,” he added.
The cases are being jointly investigated by the ABDF Coast Guard, Customs, Immigration and Fisheries departments.

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