Monday, October 25, 2010

Russia's pursuit ... death at sea ... shark parts

U.S. Coast Guard officers recently briefed the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on a wide range of response and enforcement activity, and Deckboss was there to hear it.

Here's a rundown:

• Quite a dramatic episode occurred this summer in the vicinity of the Donut Hole, the international waters at the center of the Bering Sea. It began when the Cambodian-flagged Asadara, described as a "fishing support vessel," was sighted in the Russian exclusive economic zone. The Asadara immediately fled toward the Donut Hole with a Russian patrol vessel in pursuit. The Russians asked for help from the Coast Guard, which sent a C-130 aircraft to report the ship's position. After warning shots from the Russians, the Asadara stopped and was boarded and seized on June 10 for escort to Russia.

• Coast Guard officers disclosed the deaths this summer of two crewmen aboard Bering Sea fishing vessels. On Aug. 18, the Coast Guard in Kodiak received a report that a 39-year-old male "was found not breathing and foaming at the mouth in his bunk" on the trawler American No. 1, at sea 90 miles east of Dutch Harbor. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and the vessel steamed to Dutch Harbor to turn the body over to the Alaska State Troopers. The man's name was not disclosed. In another case, the Coast Guard received a call on Sept. 7 from the captain of the longliner Siberian Sea, 38 miles west of St. Paul Island. A 32-year-old crewman "was found unconscious and unresponsive in the fish hold." His mates tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but to no avail. Again, the Coast Guard didn't identify the deceased.

• Two boats netted serious trouble after Coast Guard boardings in June. In Southeast Alaska waters, a boarding party on June 19 found "multiple fishery and safety violations" aboard the halibut boat Godfather. Federal authorities seized the catch. On June 25 in Area 610 in the western Gulf of Alaska, the Coast Guard noted "retention of shark tail without the carcass" aboard the Capt'n Andrew.

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