Monday, 1 March 2010 11:39 AM

Police in Breach of Fisheries Act: Leni

The Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Nollen Leni says the detaining of two fishing vessels by the police is in breach of the Fisheries Act.

Mr Leni was replying to the Acting Police Commissioner Walter Kola who told the local media last week that they would not be releasing the two vessels despite the Ministers order because of the need for further investigations into the case.

The Fisheries Minister says "his ministry is the custodian of the Fisheries Act and describes the police as arrogant for not advising the Ministry that the vessels were to be further detained."

Mr Leni explains that his decision to order the release of the two vessels was because the company had already paid for their licenses and it was his Ministry's failure for not quickly producing a license for the company.

He says the comfort letter issued to the company, allowing them to fish in our waters while waiting for their license, was issued by the Director of Fisheries but was not copied to him or relevant authorities including the police and immigration.