Ocean FAD Articles > U.S. Coast Guard Seizes Chinese IUU Driftnet Vessel

In an International joint effort to stop IUU driftnet fishing in the North Pacific, Chinese IUU F/V Yin Yuan has been caught.
6 Jun 2014

IUU Chinese driftnet vessel

 According to the Coast Guard, the Yin Yuan was initially spotted by a Canadian CP-140 maritime patrol craft, carrying a Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans Enforcement official.The Yin Yuan was flying a Japanese flag; however, Japanese fisheries observers on board the CP-140 stated that the vessel was not a Japanese-registered vessel.  When the Yin Yuan became aware of the aircraft, a crew member struck the Japanese flag. Its sighting was relayed to the 378-foot high endurance USCG cutter Morgenthau. The Morgenthau pursued the Yin Yuan for several days.  On May 25, when questioned, the ship’s master made a verbal claim of Chinese registry.  Chinese ship-riders aboard the Morgenthau directed the Yin Yuan to heave-to for inspection.

During an initial interview, the master said the vessel was not fishing, only transporting gear to another fishing vessel.  When shown pictures of the Yin Yuan’s nets, net tube, and net spreader on board, he admitted to having dumped them overboard the night of May 23.  He added that 3.3 kilometers of driftnet had also been dumped over the side.  The USCG boarding team found a container holding approximately half a ton of salmon.  On June 3, 2014, the Morgenthau escorted the Yin Yuan to a location in the East China Sea and transferred custody of the vessel to the Chinese Coast Guard for prosecution.

IUU driftnet fishing is the illegal use of massive nets which take bycatch ranging from marine mammals to seabirds. The practice is universally condemned and is a significant threat to ocean ecosystems and to the food and economic security of nations and communities that rely on fisheries resources.

China, along with Taiwan, have been caught IUU driftnet fishing for over a decade. A major majority of IUU driftnet vessels observed and ever suspected came from China. 

 Why is China not among the 10 NOAA listed countries engaging in the practice?

It must be true what the US State department spokesman, Mr. Bill Gibbons-fly, told me once, “China owns US”!

All in all, this seems like a very expensive and extensive international “catch & release” program. 


John-boy Harder