SHARK FINS CONFISCATED OFF COOK ISLES

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American fishing boat caught by U.S. Coast Guard

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 3, 2008) – The U.S Coast Guard seized nearly 7 kilograms of shark fins late last week on board an American fishing vessel in the Cook Islands.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that the 22 and a half metre ship, Pacific Horizon, based in San Diego, was boarded by a Coast Guard team and a law enforcement officer from the Cook Islands Ministry of Fisheries.

The team found shark fins on board the boat, which is a violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996.

The Coast Guard will transfer the shark fins to National Marine Fisheries Service, whose specialists will make a decision whether or not a violation notice will be issued.

The Coast Guard was able to board the vessel, even while in another country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, due to a new agreement with the Cook Islands.

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