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Norway releases Russian trawler against bank guarantee of $60,000

January 16, 2014, 17:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Norwegian side claimed that the Novoazovsk intentionally threw dead or dying fish overboard
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© AP Photo/Marwan Naamani, Pool

MOSCOW, January 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Norwegian authorities have released the Russian trawler Novoazovsk against a bank guarantee of $60,000, the press service of Russia’s Federal Agency for Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo) told Itar-Tass Thursday.

January 14, the public relations centre of Russia’s fishery agency reported that Norway might release arrested Russian trawler Novoazovsk within a day after the police check the vessel. The check was scheduled for Tuesday, January 14.

Norwegian coast guard proposed to Novoazovsk captain to avoid convoying to Norwegian port Tromso, providing the collateral right at the spot, and to keep fishing, but he refused to do so.

The Norwegian side claimed that the Novoazovsk intentionally threw dead or dying fish overboard, which is a gross violation of fisheries regulations under Norwegian laws. However, the Novoazovsk’s captain, Vasily Pashchenko, denied the allegations. He said the ship had been arrested because of a minor incident when some fish was simply washed away after the safety cage of a drain hole used for dumping water from the deck into the sea had broken. Norwegian coast guards recorded on video a moment when the fish really fell overboard.

The Novoazovsk trawler was expected to arrive at the Norwegian port of Troms at 22:00 Moscow time (18:00 GMT) on January 13, 2014.

A mid-sized Novoazovsk trawler freezer belongs to the Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet joint-stock company and is registered at Murmansk port. The crew has 45 members. The ship had food stocks to last for 30 days.

Norwegian laws ban fishermen from dropping out caught fish and impose huge fines on offenders. Fish discards is an urgent problem both for Norway and Russia. A widespread practice of getting rid of small and cheap fish which is not included in a trawler’s quota makes it difficult to register the fish population and has a bad impact on environment. However, the two countries do not see eye to eye on what “fish discards” mean. This is a source of constant disputes and unpleasant consequences for Russian fishermen. Sometimes, Norwegian inspectors give a very broad interpretation, fining Russian trawler captains for fish that falls out of torn nets.

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