Full victory in alleged illegal fishing lawsuit

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SANDS has assisted the Latvian company Arctic Fishing following the arrest of the vessel «Juras Vilkas» and seizure of the catch due to alleged illegal fishing of snow crab in the Barents sea “Loophole”.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The vessel owner and the captain was originally found not guilty by the court of first instance in February 2017 who found that the law prohibiting catching of snow crab where the Norwegian continental shelf extend to international waters (i.e. the “Loophole”) was contrary to Norway’s obligations pursuant to the NEAFC convention. The decision was appealed by the Norwegian authorities all the way to the Norwegian Supreme Court who set aside the decision by the court of first instance in November 2017. The case has since then been stayed pending the Norwegian Supreme Court’s ruling on the question of whether snow crab is regarded as a sedentary species or not pursuant to UNCLOS Article 77 in the “Senator case”.

The retrial took place at Øst-Finnmark county court in early April, and the court has again found the vessel owner and captain not guilty. This time due to lack of criminal intent and ignorance of the law as they despite of having acted with due diligence and care were unaware that Norwegian law prohibited catching of snow crab in international waters where the Norwegian continental shelf extended beyond the 200 Nm economic zone.  

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