Saturday, February 2, 2013

2/2/2013 News Watch-Chinese Fishing Captain Arrested by Japanese Coast Guard

Coast Guard Arrests Chinese Skipper For Illegally Fishing In Japan’s EEZ

Closely shadowed: Coast guard cutters tail a Chinese fishing boat Saturday off Miyako Island in Okinawa Prefecture before officers boarded the vessel and arrested its captain on suspicion of illegally operating in Japan's exclusive economic zone.
Official Photo Japanese Coast Guard

Editors Note: The headline states that the Chinese national was arrested for illegal fishing inside Japan's EEZ ( Exclusive Economic Zone ) which is a much different legal concept than the "Territorial Sea". Adjacent coastal states have only certain rights involving minerals and benthic fisheries (bottom dwelling), and whatever migratory non benthic species they are assigned to protect under international conventions. Later in the text the terms "EEZ" and "Territorial waters" are used interchangeably. These are in fact very precise legal terms indicating areas where the law enforcement authority of the adjacent coastal state is quite different. Based on our reading of the context we believe the entire incident occurred on waters of Japan's EEZ. Parts of Japan's EEZ are contested by China. As we write the Chinese Navy is on massive maneuvers near the contested areas. This arrest by Japanese Coast Guard authorities may be treated as a provocation. China seems to be spoiling for a naval gunfight in the area, which will resolve nothing but probably bring the United States into direct conflict with China in defense of Japan as we are obligated to do by treaty.

The coast guard arrested the captain of a Chinese boat Saturday on suspicion of illegally fishing for coral in Japan’s exclusive economic zone near Miyako Island, Okinawa Prefecture.
It is the first arrest of a Chinese vessel’s captain since September 2010 for illicit fishing in waters patrolled by the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, the prefectural capital of Okinawa.
The skipper was apprehended around 8:55 a.m., after a coast guard plane confirmed that the Chinese boat was illegally fishing in Japan’s territorial waters. The coast guard said the vessel tried to escape when its cutters arrived at the scene, but was eventually stopped after coast guard officials jumped aboard the roughly 100-ton fishing boat."

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