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Namibia fishing company faces ban in 34 countries

A Namibian fishing firm, Omunkete Fishing company, faces a ban in 34 countries after its trawler was caught in New Zealand trying to unload illegally-caught tooth fish.

A statement from the New Zealand government Wednesday accused the Namibian firm of supporting illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean.

Omunkete Fishing company’s trawler, Paloma V, was caught in May this year when it docked at a New Zealand port and attempted to unload its cargo of tooth fish in Auckland.

“The Namibian-flagged vessel Paloma V wanted to unload tooth fish in Auckland in May. Its owner, Omukente Fishing (Pty) Limited, took the government to court because it wanted to stop us reporting it to the CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources),” said the joint statement by foreign minister Winston Peters and fisheries minister Jim Anderton.

“Omukente also wanted to stop New Zealand from recommending its vessel be put on the illegal fishing blacklist. Blacklisting would prevent it from entering the ports of the 34 countries that have signed the CCAMLR convention,” said the statement.

“The boat was examined by fisheries officials and information was found linking it to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The boat’s computer records revealed that it had contact with known illegal fishing vessels and had re-supplied them at sea,” it added.

Soon after the High Court released its judgement, the New Zealand government filed its CCAMLR report and the recommendation to blacklist Paloma V will be considered in October.

“We need to stamp out illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, it is wreaking havoc with fish stock sustainability and damaging the environment,” New Zealand said.

It added that fishing outfits pillaging the Southern Ocean had their eye on Ross sea.

“Illegal fishing is a serious threat to global fisheries and this case shines a light on the problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean,” the government said.

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