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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, April 18) – A French Navy patrol ship will escort a Venezuelan fishing vessel from the Marquesas Islands to Papeete in Tahiti for further investigation of suspected illegal fishing inside French Polynesia's Exclusive Economic Zone, the French government announced.

[PIR editor’s note: The Marquesas Islands are located northeast of Tahiti.]

The French Navy patrol ship "La Railleuse" was on a routine policing of the economic zone in the Marquesas Islands area when it discovered the "Daniel F" Venezuelan fishing vessel during a technical stopover in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva, according to communiqué from the French High Commissioner's Office.

The navy found 658 tons of fish in the ship's holds, the communiqué reported. An examination of documents aboard the Venezuelan ship showed that a significant capture on the order of some 80 tons of tuna had been caught in previous weeks inside the economic zone, according to the communiqué.

The French Maritime Affairs Office flew a controller to Nuku Hiva to investigate, organize the immobilization of the fishing vessel and have it escorted to Papeete. The ship, which measures 107.5 meters (352 feet) long by 16.6 meters (54 feet) wide and weighs 3,722 tons, has a crew of 27 persons.

The French Polynesia government is responsible for managing the economic zone through its Fishing Department, but the French state is responsible for policing the zone.

An agreement signed on April 4 between France and French Polynesia created a maritime commission for coordinating actions at sea between the state and the overseas community, formerly known as a territory. The commission includes a fishing police sub-commission for coordinating policing operations.

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