An illegal fishing vessel has been intercepted in Maldivian waters with 200 tons of tuna.
The foreign vessel was intercepted around 11pm Thursday about 76 nautical miles off Hirilandhoo island in Thaa atoll, the Maldives National Defence Coast Guard said in a statement.
The vessel, “Chotpattanna 55”, was flying a Somali flag and had a crew of 10 Thai people. It is under the MNDF’s control and the crew have been arrested.
Yellowfin tuna prices were US$9 per kilogram and skipjack tuna prices averaged US$1,530 per ton in 2016, according to fisheries ministry data.
In November the Coast Guard intercepted and seized two Sri Lankan fishing vessels from Maldivian waters, along with 10 Sri Lankan crew members.
A fisheries ministry report published last October said hundreds of foreign fishing vessels were operating illegally in Maldivian seas every year.
The two-year study identified 432 vessels performing unauthorized activities insid the Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zones, in addition to 542 unauthorised buoys deployed or drifting through Maldivian waters.