Coast Guard watchstanders and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force crew interdicted two Dominican Republic-flagged ships Thursday illegally fishing off Diamond Point, Great Bahama Bank.
Watchstanders from the Coast Guard’s Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos operation center coordinated with RBDF crews to board two commercial fishing vessels, El Ship and Angel Gabriel, which had 83 fishermen aboard.
The RBDF boarding team seized more than 12,000 pounds of illegally caught fish and lobster.
The partnership between the Coast Guard and RBDF to catch these illegal fishermen came just days after the Coast Guard released a new strategy to enhance global safety, security, and stewardship of the maritime domain by combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
IUU fishing is a collection of dishonest fishing practices, both on the high seas and in areas within national jurisdiction, that threatens global geo-political security and prosperity and weakens rules-based order; especially as the worldwide demand for fish as a protein source continues to grow. The strategy announces the Coast Guard’s commitment to leading an international effort to combat illegal exploitation of the ocean’s fish stocks and protect our national interests.
“The Seventh Coast Guard District includes a 1.8 million square mile area of responsibility shared with 32 foreign countries and oversees territories,” said Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones, Commander Seventh District. “The Coast Guard’s recently released Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Strategic Outlook is a commitment to our international partners throughout this region, and I look forward to continuing to build and maintain strong relationships with our like-minded foreign allies as we work together to combat the threat IUU fishing poses to our region.”
The vessels and crew were apprehended and escorted to New Providence, Bahamas for further enforcement action.