POHNNPEI,FSMIS) — The Taiyo Micronesia Corporation (TMC) has been charged with unlawful removal of shark fins.

TMC is a joint venture between a Japanese fishing company, Taiyo A & F Corporation, and the National Fisheries Corporation (NFC) of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

TMC has a fleet of five vessels: Taiyo Pohnpei, Taiyo Chuuk, Taiyo Waab, Taiyo Tofol, and Taiyo Palikir. Of the five vessels, two of them have been criminally charged and civilly sued in the FSM Supreme Court.

Through the actions of Taiyo Chuuk, her Captain Kazuaki Nishimura, and the company TMC, have been criminally charged for hindering or disallowing the ship’s observer to collect fish samples, which is in violation of 24 FSMC §915(1); for inaccurately recording catches on four separate occasions, which is in violation of 24 FSMC §115(1) (a) (iv); and for violating the Access Agreement, which is in violation of 24 FSMC §906.

In the civil case, Taiyo Chuuk is charged with violating the Access Agreement contrary to 24 FSMC  §915(1); for violating the Access Agreement contrary to 24 F.S.M.C  §115(1)(a)(iv); for violating the Access Agreement contrary to the Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) 2019-04 and supplemental CMM, and for violating the Access Agreement on three separate occasions contrary to 24 FSMC  §906(1)(a)&(c) and 24 FSMC  §115(a)(iv).

The captain, and the company TMC, have appeared in the FSM Supreme Court for their initial appearance in the criminal proceeding and in the civil proceedings. The parties are scheduled to appear for hearing on Probable Cause.

In the proceedings against Taiyo Tofol, the vessel’s captain Takashi Kawamura is charged criminally for violating the Access Agreement on two separate occasions in violation of 24 FSMC 906(1)(c); for unlawful removal of shark fin in violation of 24 FSMC 913(2); for not immediately releasing shark back into the ocean in violation of 24 FSMC 913(4)(a); and for contamination of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in violation of 24 FSMC 918(1)(2)(a).

In addition, the ship’s captain, Takashi Kawamura, the ship’s master, Saraji Kasuan, the ship’s cook, and the company TMC, the vessel’s owner have been civilly sued for violating the Access Agreement on two separate occasions in violation of 24 FSMC 906(1)(c); for unlawful removal of shark fin in violation of 24 FSMC 913(2); for not immediately releasing shark back into the ocean in violation of 24 FSMC 913(4)(a); and for contamination of the EEZ in violation of 24 FSMC 918(1)(2)(a).

In the criminal and civil proceeding against Taiyo Chuuk, Assistant Attorneys General Quintina Letawerpiy, Esq. and Robert Nakasone Jr. are appearing on behalf of the Government. In the Taiyo Tofol criminal and civil proceeding, Assistant Attorneys General Josephine Leben James, Esq. and Jesse Mihkel, Esq are representing the Government.  Attorney Erick Divinagracia, Esq from Ramp and Mida Law Firm is representing the Defendants in both cases…. PACNEWS

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