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article imageLast known Chilean Sea Bass poaching ship caught in Indonesia

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Feb 28, 2016 in Environment
Indonesian officials plan to sink the last known illegal Chilean sea bass poaching vessel caught last week. The detention of all "Bandit 6" vessels is expected to end illegal fishing in Antarctic waters for the first time in decades.
Toothfish, marketed as “Chilean sea bass” to high-end restaurants, is one of the the most expensive fish available in world markets, costing as much as $30 a pound. The fish, which sells primarily in the United States, Europe and Japan has been a target for illegal fishing for decades.
Illegal fishing of of toothfish was banned by the 25-nation Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in view of their dwindling numbers. However, six vessels, which marine conservation group Sea Shepherd has dubbed the Bandit 6, have been raking in about $1 million worth of fish in each fishing trip, skirting international fishing regulations for a decade.The poachers, largely undetected in the vast Southern Ocean, also used illegal gill nets to capture the deep water fish, killing other endangered marine species in the process.
Cooperation between local and international authorities, including environmental activist group Sea Shepherd and Interpol, resulted in the detention of five out of six known illegal fishing vessels in Southern Ocean during the past 15 months.
The Viking, caught in Indonesia on Friday was the last of six vessels illegally operating off the coast of Antarctica. In a press conference, Indonesian fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti said that she will ask the Indonesian navy to sink the pirate vessel within the next few days.
Sea Shepherd captain Siddharth Chakravarty, who notified the Indonesian authorities on the movement of the vessel after tracking it for several weeks said:
In a short span of 15 months, the entire fleet of the toothfish poachers is in disarray, with no poachers fishing in Antarctica for the first time. International cooperation, spearheaded by Sea Shepherd’s at-sea campaigns, has directly resulted in one of the swiftest and biggest successes in marine conservation history.
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