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Japan poacher captain penalized 300,000 roubles

The district court of Yuzhno-Kurilsk on Monday sentenced Japanese poacher captain Kawabata Takashi to a penalty of 300,000 roubles (about 11,320 U.S. dollars).

The press service of the Sakhalin region prosecutor's office reports that at a court session Takashi pleaded guilty and repented sincerely.

The Zuisho Maru 38 schooner steered by Kawabata Takashi was detained in Russia's territorial waters in the area of the Bely Utyos cape in the northern part of the Kunashir Island on January 21, 2007.

Border guards found on board the schooner 1,800 kilograms of cod, Alaska Pollack and flatfish. The schooner has a permission to catch fish in the Russian territorial sea, but only outside a three-mile zone.

On January 22, The Zuisho Maru 38 vessel was convoyed to Yuzhno-Kurilsk for the investigation. Evidence testifying to the fact of illegal catches by the ship in Russia's territorial waters was collected during the probe. It was found out that the Zuisho Maru 38 schooner belongs to Japan's Zuizo Kawabata company. The schooner's captain Kawabata Takashi (born in 1955) is simultaneously the company owner.

The vessel's crew consisted of six Japanese citizens. Soon after the schooner's detention, its rank-and-file crewmembers were sent to the Hokkaido Island.

After the sentence has been rendered, the poacher captain will have to stay on Kunashir for ten more days, during which he can submit an appeal. If he does not insist on retrial of the case, he can get back to Japan already on March 16.

© Itar-Tass)

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