ILLEGAL fishing war in Tanzania's deep sea intensified yesterday following the arraignment of a Taiwanese national, Captain Han Ming Chuan, before Mtwara Resident Magistrate's Court, facing four counts, including being found in unlawful possession of 90kg of shark fins.
Other charges read against the 61-year-old accused by the prosecution, led by State Attorney Wankyo Simon, include pollution of marine environment, unlawful possession of firearm and illegal possession of rounds of ammunitions.
Before Senior Resident Magistrate Slome Mshasha, the accused person, who is also an Engineer, was not allowed to enter plea to the counts because he is charged under the Economic and Organised Crimes Control Act and the Deep Sea Fishing Authority Act.
The magistrate ordered the accused person, who resides in Taiwan, to go to remand until today when the court is expected to give an order on confiscation of consignment of fish impounded from the fishing vessel.
It is alleged that the vessel was apprehended in January this year during a patrol conducted in the deep sea. The trial attorney, Mr Simon, who is an expert in Maritime Law, had invited the court to order the sale of the consignment and proceeds of money be kept in a bank account, pending trial.
Reading the charges, the prosecutor told the court that the accused person committed the offences between November 25, 2017 and January 25, 2018 between West area of Lindi region and Mtwara region, along the Indian Ocean within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the United Republic of Tanzania.
On January 25, 2018, according to the prosecution, being a Captain of Buah Naga I vessel with registration No FT-333489, licenced under the Deep Sea Fishing Regulations of 2009, was found in possession of 90 kilogrammes of shark fins without carcasses on board.
It is alleged that on diverse dates within the same period and place, willingly, Han Ming Chuan caused pollution of marine waters by throwing away shark carcasses without any written authorisation by the Director General of the Deep Sea Fishing Authority.
The prosecution alleged before the court further that on January 26, 2018 at Mtwara Port in Mtwara District within Mtwara Region, being the captain of the sea going fishing vehicle, Han Ming Chuan was found in possession of one pistol, a Bereta without any licence.
It is alleged by the prosecution further that on the same day and place within the region, the accused person was found possessing 10 rounds of ammunition of the said firearm without having any licence authorising him to possess them.