Yap State authorities managed to apprehend 4 out of 9 Quang Ngai vessels believed to have engaged in illegal fishing in Yap waters. According to reports, 56 crewmen were on board the 4 fishing vessels. This type of Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing within the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is not a new phenomenon, but an increasing global concern.
The captains of the 4 Vietnamese vessels, presumed to have engaged in IUU fishing, have been charged in State court. Additionally, the National government is investigating the captains for IUU violations and other national laws. The FSM Department of Justice (DOJ) is also reaching out to the Palau DOJ on similar incidents that have recently taken place in Palau. According to officials, it is believed that Yap State is dealing with a similar group of individuals that recently carried out IUU fishing activities in Palau.
The FSM Department of Foreign Affairs has been notified and is currently working with the relevant governments involved with a view to repatriating appropriate individuals. In the recent past, the Palau government repatriated Vietnamese citizens to Vietnam, and because the current situation in Yap is similar in nature, Palau will be sharing its repatriation experience with the FSM. As members of Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), the Palau and FSM governments are working together to assist other law enforcement agencies.
The 56 crewmen are being provided humanitarian assistance through the cooperation of the National and State governments, as well as through donations provided by the local Yapese community and international aid.