Benin detains four trawlers for fishing illegally
Four vessels were arrested in Benin earlier this month for fishing in special management areas and restricted ecological reserves.
Sea Shepherd, an international non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization, said in a statement that the four industrial trawlers Fada 10, Tian Yu 5, Tian Yu 6 and Tian Yu 8, were apprehended during a joint operation that also involved the Beninese Navy.
“The fishing vessels were busted when the ship’s radar of the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker caught them fishing inside a special management area reserved for local artisanal fishermen that extends up to five nautical miles from the coast of Benin,” Sea Shepherd said.
The Tian Yu 5, Tian Yu 6, and Tian Yu 8 were nabbed as they fished in the 346,285-hectare UNESCO-listed Mono Biosphere Reserve known for its mosaic of landscapes and ecosystems “consisting mainly of mangroves, savanna, lagoons, floodplains and forests, including sacred forests.”
Sea Shepherd, which has also been working with other African countries such as Gabon, Liberia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Namibia, and The Gambia, said the four vessels are being detained at the port of Cotonou.
Earlier this year, Benin signed an agreement with Sea Shepherd to partner in the Operation Guegou, an initiative to wage war against illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea alongside locally incorporated non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Photo courtesy of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society