KUSHIRO, HOKKAIDO – The coast guard seized a Taiwan-registered fishing boat Saturday off Hokkaido on suspicion of illegally hunting saury in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, officials said.
During questioning at the coast guard’s office in Kushiro, eastern Hokkaido, the vessel’s captain admitted to catching about 7,000 kg of saury in the EEZ but was later let go after promising to deposit ¥4.5 million to secure his release and the return of the boat, according to the officials.
An aircraft operated by the 1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Otaru, Hokkaido, spotted the Taiwanese vessel early Wednesday fishing in waters about 370 km south-southeast of Kushiro, the officials said.
The vessel spent nearly 1½ days trying to elude coast guard patrol boats but was eventually stopped, and, after waiting for heavy seas to subside, was shepherded to the port of Kushiro, they added.
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