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     The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today (March 26) laid charges against two Mainland fishermen suspected of engaging in illegal fishing in waters near Black Point, Tuen Mun.
 
     AFCD officers intercepted a Mainland fishing vessel suspected to be carrying out illegal fishing in the above-mentioned waters at about 12 noon yesterday (March 25) for investigation. Some fishing gear (including winches and long cages) and catch were seized on board.
 
     Charges were laid against the Mainland fishermen. They were suspected to have violated the Fisheries Protection Ordinance (Cap. 171) (the Ordinance) and will appear at Fanling Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (March 27).

     Only a vessel registered under the Ordinance can be used for fishing in Hong Kong waters. Regardless of the type of fishing gear used, a non-local fishing vessel is not allowed to carry out fishing activities in Hong Kong waters. Any offender is liable on conviction to a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and imprisonment for six months.
 
     An AFCD spokesman said, “The Government is committed to cracking down on illegal fishing activities in Hong Kong waters. The AFCD will continue to step up patrols and stringently enforce the law.”