US cutter pursues illegal fishing vessel across the Pacific

A Honolulu-based Coast Guard cutter is off the coast of Japan, pursuing prosecution of an unregistered fishing vessel suspected of catching 40 tons of fish with an illegal high seas driftnet.

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. on Monday announced that the 378-foot cutter Rush had been assigned to Alaska waters but had followed the fishing vessel across the Pacific to enforce commercial fishing law.

During a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing in Kodiak, Alaska, Papp said he would “call this fishing piracy that is going on.” He said those aboard the fishing vessel “put eight miles of net out there and collect everything that flows through it.”

Papp said the vessel carried Chinese citizens and may be passed to China for prosecution.