Russian Ship Held by Senegalese Navy in Fishing Dispute

A Russian trawler is being held by Senegal’s navy after it was seized on Jan. 3 for suspected illegal fishing, according to Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister El Ali Haidar.

The Oleg Naydenov vessel had more than 70 crew members on board when it was seized by Senegalese authorities in the country’s southern territorial waters near neighboring Guinea Bissau, Haidar told reporters yesterday.

“It’s a big fishing ship which is now at the military port in Dakar since Saturday night under the surveillance of armed forces,” Haidar said. Senegal plans to increase its fine of 200 million francs ($414,000) as the vessel is a repeat offender, the minister said.

Fishing is one of Senegal’s main economic resources. Prime Minister Aminata Toure told members of parliament in October that the fishing industry employs as many as 600,000 people and the government aims to increase its contribution to the West African country’s economy.

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