A captain of a Tunisian ship landed in hot water for fishing illegally in Maltese territorial waters on Monday morning.
The Valletta Patrol Police, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM), and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture examined a fishing vessel from Tunisia that had docked yesterday evening at Xatt il-Barrieri.
Increasing allegations stating that the vessel was illegally fishing in the territorial waters of Malta prompted the inspection.
The vessel was taken to the Marsa Landing Facility on Monday morning, where the Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) of the Police discovered that it lacked the necessary licenses to fish in Malta’s territorial waters.
The 29-year-old Tunisian captain was reportedly arrested, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture seized about 500kg of fish and fishing equipment.
Over the next few days, the man will appear in court on charges related to this case. The police investigation will continue.
In 2021 around October, the AFM reportedly intercepted two fishing vessels from Tunisia in a similar case. Both the ship captains were fined about €10,000 each, accused of failing to inform Malta-based officials of the descriptions and amounts of the fish on the vessel before entering the fishing waters of Malta, and failing to give three days prior notice of their plans to enter Malta.
In 2019, MaltaToday reported how lampuki fishers from Malta saw their catches being plundered by their Tunisian counterparts on the high seas amid a veritable war.
Some Malta-based fishers say they were threatened by Tunisia’s wielding machetes and Molotov cocktails.
Reference: Malta Today, Malta Independent