The Taiwanese Captain of Malaysian longliner BUAH NAGA NO 1, Mr Han Ming Chuan along with the owner, Mr Dato Seri Lee Yee Jiat, and agent, Mr Abubakar Salum Hassan have been sentenced by the High Court of Tanzania to twenty years imprisonment or a fine of one billion Tanzanian Shillings ($435,000 USD). All three have been remanded to Lilungu Prison in Mtwara to begin serving their custodial sentences. If the fine is paid, then the sentence will be suspended.
The BUAH NAGA No.1 was arrested in January 2018 following an at-sea inspection conducted during the Operation Jodari, a partnership between Tanzania’s Multi-Agency Task Team, Sea Shepherd and FISH-i Africa. Inspectors discovered over 90kgs of shark fin, in violation of Tanzanian law and international regulations. The vessels crew raised concerns over their treatment by the captain, who was in possession of an unlawful firearm, which was used to threaten the Indonesian crew.
Peter Hammarstedt, Director of Campaigns for Sea Shepherd Global, commented: “Sea Shepherd applauds the Tanzanian government for the successful prosecution of the F/V Buah Naga 1 and for the strong message of deterrence that the Tanzanian High Court has sent to shark fin poachers everywhere. As shark populations plummet globally, Tanzania is rising as an international leader in the fight against illegal fishing.”
JD Kotze, Stop Illegal Fishing Investigator who has participated in Operation Jodari, commented, “This result is a great success for Tanzania and it affords proof of the value of a partnership between Sea Shepherd, Stop Illegal Fishing and the United Republic of Tanzania in the fight against illegal Fishing.”